A memorial stone has been placed in front of the Pine Bluff Regional Airport in memory of three Pafford Air One Bravo crew members who lost their lives in a November 2017 crash.
The monument features etchings of Jim Spruiell, Mike Bollen and Trey Auld, who were the only people on board the helicopter when it crashed. A few months after the incident, Pine Bluff-based Pafford Air One resumed its medical helicopter services.
Doug Hale, airport manager, said he is honored to have the memorial stone at the facility.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of the monument,” Hale said. “We are also pleased to accommodate the Pafford family and staff with the monument location.”
The company said that the National Transportation Safety Board believes the crash of Pafford Air One Bravo was caused by multiple bird strikes as the aircraft flew over Hamptons Reservoir south of Stuttgart.
The air ambulance services regional medical facilities’ and 9-1-1 systems’ patients in Arkansas and Mississippi, according to a company news release.
“In respect for the fallen, the company has retired the Air One Bravo name, replacing it with the new Pafford Air One-Echo moniker,” a news release issued shortly after the accident said.
After a company-wide moment of radio silence at noon on Nov. 10, 2017, the helicopter program resumed service.
“The Pafford Air One team has made a lasting commitment to take the time to be as precise as Mike, as passionate as Jim, and as spirited as Trey,” the news release said.
The Pafford Air One medical helicopter offers services in Ruston, Louisiana, Clarksdale, Mississippi and Pine Bluff. The group has achieved a safety record flying over 20,000 flight hours since the service began in 2006. Thousands of emergency patients received advanced, life-saving services through Pafford’s Air One and Air Med response and transport.
“The company looks forward to continuing these important air ambulance services for patients living in rural areas where long response and transport times using ground transportation might negatively impact these patients’ medical conditions,” the news release said.
Pafford Air One is a sister company to Pafford EMS and Pafford Air Med. These are all Pafford family-owned EMS services headquartered in Ruston and in Hope. For more than half a century, Pafford Medical Services ground, fixed-wing and medical helicopter ambulance companies have responded to more than 125,000 patients living in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma.