MANCHESTER, Ky. (WYMT) - Hundreds of people stopped to look at the helicopter crash site where three first responders lost their lives Thursday night.
Many of them say they “have suffered a great loss,” following the deaths of those they say were a dedicated medical team.
Three flags and roses now stand near the crash site in their honor.
“[It’s] just to let them know that we do care. We are appreciating that they risked their lives every day,” said community member, Steve Collett.
Pilot Eddy Sizemore, paramedic Herman “Lee” Dobbs, and flight nurse Jesse Jones died, when the chopper crashed in the Paces Creek Elementary School parking lot on US-421 in Manchester.
Wesley Whitehead was one of the first people at the scene.
“The helicopter was completely burnt up. It looked like a big bile of melted rubber,” said Whitehead.
Federal Investigators say they've been searching through 3 different piles of wreckage.
One is where most of the helicopter landed in the parking lot, another just a few yards behind the school where the tail was found, and the third next to the county school buses.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration say they do not know the cause of the crash.
“We haven’t really sat down and started looking at the impact signature marks or the skids. We haven't really looked into all the fracture points yet to tell why is it like that,” said NTSB Investigator Shawn Etcher.
They expect to continue the investigation throughout the weekend.
Police have received conflicting reports about whether there was fog in the area at the time of the crash.
Investigators say they are sending a recording device from the helicopter to Washington DC for further investigation.
UPDATED 6/7/2013 @ 6:07pm
The crews continue to survey the crash site but they have recently been looking at a nearby tree.
Federal investigators say that broken limbs could be connected to the crash.
But they are unsure as of now and will continue investigate.
Police say pilot Eddy Sizemore, flight paramedic Herman Lee Dobbs and flight nurse Jesse Jones died when the chopper exploded on impact.
“I came down here as soon as the power went out and saw the fire in the parking lot as soon as I came across the hill here,” Wesley Whitehead said.
Police say the helicopter was on its way back from transporting a patient to London when it crashed a couple hundred yards away from the landing pad in the Paces Creek Elementary School parking lot.
A National Transportation Safety Board investigator says they are looking for specific indicators in the rubble.
“We are going to go through the air craft as it sits and document any fracture points burn patterns, things like that,” NTSB Air Inspector Shawn Etcher said.
Investigators don't know what caused the crash, but they say a device on board may be able to help.
“These have similar recording devices they don't get the cockpit voice but they get the flight path and everything so we are going to extract that and send that to DC for download to see if it has any pertinent information,” Etcher said.
Police say they have received conflicting reports about fog and engine noises from witnesses but hope to soon find out what happened to their fellow first responders.
The federal investigator we talked to say they expect to start moving the pieces of the helicopter Saturday, but will be on scene investigating until as late as Monday.
UPDATED 6/7/2013 @ 4:00pm
Investigators with the NTSB are in Manchester, Kentucky investigating what caused a deadly crash Thursday night.
The Company behind the Air Evac Lifeteam air medical helicopter service has confirmed that three men have died after a helicopter crashed near Manchester, in Clay County.
The accident happened around 11:16 on Thursday night, when the helicopter crashed into the parking lot of the Paces Creek Elementary School near Highway 421. We're told the aircraft was en route back to its base after transporting a patient to a hospital in London. No patients were on board.
All three crew members on board the helicopter died in the accident. They have been identified as pilot Eddy Sizemore, flight paramedic Herman "Lee" Dobbs, and flight nurse Jesse Jones.
The Clay County Sheriff says they're getting conflicting reports as to what may have caused the accident, regarding the weather.
Investigators from the FAA and NTSB are on the scene. We are told the groups will host a news conference later once they have more information.
Air Evac officials confirm the victims were the crew members on board the chopper.
They are identified as pilot Eddy Sizemore, flight paramedic Herman “Lee” Dobbs and flight nurse Jesse Jones.
The crew was en route back to their base about 11:16pm Thursday after transporting a patient to a hospital in London. No patients were on board.
Clay County Sheriff Kevin Johnson has confirmed three people were killed in the helicopter crash Thursday night.
Manchester Police confirm the helicopter involved is an Air Evac chopper. They tell us they have a base near the crash site.
The Clay County coroner also confirms he is on the scene.
We are also told U.S. 421 is shut down in both directions right now near the crash site.
We will have the latest updates as we get them.
The Clay County Sheriff confirms a helicopter has crashed near Paces Creek Elementary School.
We do not have any information about injuries at this time.
We have a crew on the way and will have much more on this story right here on wymt.com and on Mountain News This Morning.