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Archbishop Coakley on helicopter crash: "Our love and concern go out to all affected"

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (Feb. 22, 2013) – Around 5:45 a.m. Feb. 22, a medical helicopter crashed between the Saint Ann Retirement Center and the Saint Ann Nursing Home. Three crew members were on board. Two were killed in the crash and the third has been hospitalized in critical condition. No one on the ground was killed or seriously harmed.

“This is a painful tragedy for all affected, and our love and concern immediately go out to the victims of the crash and their families,” said the most Reverend Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. “We pray for peace and comfort for those who grieve the loss of the two crew members who died. We hope and pray, too, that the critically injured crew member makes a full recovery.

“Our concern goes out, as well, to the residents and staff members of the St. Ann Retirement Center and Saint Ann Nursing Home. We will do all in our power to ensure that the St. Ann’s residents receive the help and care they need to recover from the distress this must have caused. We are thankful that no residents were seriously harmed.

“It is our understanding that seven members of the staff at St. Ann’s Nursing Home rushed to help at the scene of the crash and that three of them pulled the third crew member from the wreckage just before a second explosion. As an Archdiocese, we exist to make Christ present to the people of central and western Oklahoma. In the midst of our grief, we are proud of and moved by the witness of those members of our community who risked personal harm to aid the injured. We ask for your understanding as we protect their privacy as they recover from this extraordinary morning.”

Staff members from the Catholic Pastoral Center and the Catholic Charities Saint Joseph Counseling Center have been onsite at the St. Ann Nursing Home since the morning and are available to those who need their assistance.