Maui News

Separate Mainland Medical Helicopter Crashes Claim Lives of Former Maui Pilots

December 18, 2015, 7:44 AM HST
* Updated December 18, 12:58 PM
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David Schneider. Courtesy photo.

David Schneider. Courtesy photo.

Two pilots who formerly worked on Maui, died in separate medical helicopter crashes on the mainland within the past week.

The incidents included: a medical helicopter crash that claimed the life of 49-year-old Thomas Hampl on Thursday, Dec. 10, in Kern County, California; and an Air Methods flight that crashed near Apache Junction in Arizona on Tuesday, Dec. 15, fatally injuring 51-year-old David Schneider.

Air Maui released a statement to Maui Now last night saying the Maui company is mourning the passing of both men who were former pilots for the company, and described them as “great people to work with.”  The statement read:

“We are mourning the passing of our dear friends Thomas Hampl and Dave Schneider, both were great people to work with.  We ask that everyone respect our privacy at this time.  Our condolences go out to the families of our former pilots in this time of sorrow.  We would like to thank all those folks that are supporting us throughout this sad and emotional time.”

Hampl’s wife, Sheli, posted a comment on KTVZ.com over the weekend saying they “moved to Bend in 2012 from Maui where Hampl worked as a tour pilot for almost 10 years.”

In the Arizona crash, a friend contacted Maui Now saying Schneider was a neighbor in Kīhei and was employed as a pilot while on island.

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Air Methods released a statement to Maui Now confirming that one of the company’s Airbus AS350 B3 helicopters went down near Apache Junction in Arizona on Tuesday. The company also confirmed that the aircraft was carrying three crew members, two of whom suffered fatal injuries in the accident.

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In addition to Schneider, a Flight Nurse Chad Frary, 38 was fatally injured, an Air Methods representative told Maui Now. A third crew member, Flight Paramedic Derek Boehm, 38, was the sole survivor, and was last listed in fair condition, according to the company.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s office also confirmed the incident saying Schneider, of Gilbert, Arizona was fatally injured in the crash reported at around 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15 in a remote area of the Superstition Mountains, north of Superior, Arizona.

Sheriff Paul Babeu issued a statement during a press conference on Wednesday saying, “We ask prayers for the families of the crew members aboard.  This is a medical crew who helps people each and every day and now, has gone down in this tragic incident.”

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