July 3, 2008 · Updated 4:34 PM
Clinton resident Steve Smith was one of the three people killed when an Airlift Northwest helicopter crashed near Edmonds Thursday night.
Smith, 59, was the pilot of the helicopter. Flight nurses Erin Reed, 48, and Lois Suzuki, 47, were also on the helicopter as it was heading back to the Arlington airport after dropping off a patient at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to Airlift Northwest.
The aircraft crashed into Puget Sound on the windy, rainy night. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause.
Smith is very well known on Whidbey Island where he frequently airlifted patients from Whidbey General Hospital. His wife, Norma, ran for Congress against Rep. Rick Larsen in 2002.
Smiths job is to transport injured or ailing patients to hospitals. Helicopters from Airlift Northwest transport patients from Whidbey General to Seattle about 200 times a year. Smith has flown with Airlift Northwest since 1988.
Smith miraculously survived and recovered when his helicopter crashed off Highway 2 near Index in January of 2002. Doctors werent even sure if he would walk again, and few expected him to fly again.
Dr. Paul Zaveruha, director of emergency medical services for Island County, said the fatal accident was a terrible blow to the medical community. He said Smith and all members of the helicopter crews are known for their professionalism and skill.
Zaveruha said the crew will be sorely missed.
All of the members of the airlift community show great character, bravery and dedication every day that they work, he said.