Pine Bluff Aviation Commissioners held a moment of silence to mourn the deaths of Pafford Air One employees who died in a helicopter crash Nov. 19 near DeWitt.
Killed were 46-year-old pilot Michael Bollen of Hot Springs; 61-year-old flight nurse James Lawson Spruiell of Sulligent, Alabama; and 26-year-old flight paramedic John Auld III, who went by the nickname Trey, of Shreveport, Louisiana. The crash is under investigation. They died when the Pafford Air One Bravo helicopter ambulance crashed while en route from Pine Bluff to DeWitt.
Commissioners Dr. Michele Pashkevich, Harvey Sizemore, Rocky Thornburgh, Tommy Palmer, Ken Johnson and Kenneth Collins and Pine Bluff Regional Airport Grider Field Manager Doug Hale remembered the fallen men at their Thursday meeting.
“The service for the last crew member will be this weekend,” Hale said. “The discussion at this point is to have a memorial service for all three crew members on Friday, December 8, in their hanger 1A. I have requested a proclamation from the mayor's office for them. My heart goes out to them. It has been an awful occurrence.”
Three crosses bearing the names of Bollen, Spruiell and Auld have been placed in front of the Pine Bluff Regional Airport/Grider Field sign to honor their lives. Johnson called Pafford Air One “part of the airport family.” Hale agreed: “That's been a tough blow for that company and for everybody on the field.”
Reached after the meeting, Pafford Air One Director Dustin Ross said the company has an aircraft based in Ruston, Louisiana, and it is serving South Arkansas. Pafford has another aircraft that is based in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
“The one that crashed was based in Pine Bluff,” Ross said. “We are working with our vendor to get another aircraft that will be based in Pine Bluff, but we do not know when that will be.”
Commissioner Keidra Burrell was absent.