BISMARCK — Nov. 18, 2018, is a day many in the Bismarck and Mandan areas won’t soon forget.
That’s the day a Bismarck Air Medical plane crashed outside of Mandan, killing all three on board.
And the healing process is still ongoing.
It’s been nearly a year since the tragic loss of Todd Lasky, Bonnie Cook and Chris Iverson.
All killed when a 1982 Cessna 441 turboprop went down in the late-night hours of Nov. 18.
They died doing what they loved — the three were on their way to Williston to transport a patient when the unthinkable happened and their plane went down.
Even today their co-workers and friends are still coping with the loss…
“We’re a tight family, we’re taking it one day at a time. Everybody is still healing. There’s good days, there’s bad days, lots of memories. We’re pushing forward, we’re taking it day by day,” said Sommer Willoughby Chief Flight Nurse for Bismarck Air Medical.
In its initial investigation, the NTSB says the plane climbed to 14,000 feet traveling at around 270 mph.
At some point, radar contact was lost and the plane broke apart and crashed into a field near Harmon.
Jonathan Ternes is head Director Of Operations for Bismarck Air Medical and told KX News…
“You’re always gonna feel the emptiness, you’re gonna miss your co-workers for it. We were a small family in the community for the ones that were lost, so it’s gonna take a while for us to get better but we’re making progress,” said Ternes.
The NTSB has yet to release its full investigation. Ternes says he believes one of the reasons it’s taking so long is other air disasters have pushed the priority of this accident down the list.
“If you have multiple accidents, for instance, the 737 Max that went down, so then the spotlight moves and you shift, and then more accidents happen, and those guys get drawn to those accidents and there’s not many of them, so it takes a long time to get all these guys together in the same room,” said Ternes.
Bismarck Air Medical works in tandem with Metro Area Ambulance. Deputy Chief Josh Davis tells KX News the accident has brought both organizations closer together.
“That’s the one thing we’ve really pushed and gotten good at here is checking in to see how people are doing, not just saying, ‘Hey good day, good morning, how are you doing?’ It’s really checking in and if someone’s having a bad day, sitting down and visiting them,” said Davis.
He says a big help was hiring a chaplain last January that aids in the healing process.
It’s just one more tool this family of live savers has after losing the lives of some of their own.
CHI St. Alexius tells us they will have a special blessing related to the accident on Nov. 18 at 11:30 a.m.
More details are expected to be released next week.