Funerals held for chopper crash victims

October 20, 2008 4:06:00 PM PDT
A funeral was held Monday morning for a nurse killed in last week's medical helicopter crash. Another victim- a 1-year-old girl- will be laid to rest this afternoon. Thirty-one-year-old William Mann and 1-year-old Kirstin Blockinger were two of four people who died when a medical chopper crashed en route to Chicago. Mann was a nurse. Blockinger was the one needing medical treatment.

By all accounts, Mann was considered a giver, always putting the needs of others before his own.

Fourteen-month-old Kirstin Blockinger had been in bad health for most of her young life. Her family says she had been battling seizures for the last year, but was a fighter. Monday, she was remembered for a smile that melted your heart and eyes that danced with life.

The parents of Kirstin Blockinger embraced as they prepared to laid their daughter to rest.

"This is our little girl. She touched so many people's lives. We can't understand the reasons why she's gone, we know that she's still with us every single day," said Brooke Blockinger, victim's mother.

The community gathered in a small church in support of the volunteer firefighter and his wife, who mourned not only for their child, but for the others who also perished.

"For those who are hurting, know our hearts are with them as well. We know it wasn't just our daughter on that flight this week. It was three other families that were affected as well," said Spec. Robert Blockinger, victim's father.

The funeral for in-flight nurse Mann was also Monday. the Former police officer and paramedic was remembered by family and friends as someone who was willing to take risk to be in the service of others.

"He risked his life for a baby girl to have a chance to live and I think that's something that bill would do any day. I don't think he would think twice about it," said Lt. David Blondell, Norwood Park Fire Dept.

The 14-month-old was killed last week as Blockinger was being transported for treatment for seizures by the Air Angels crew. Federal authorities say, although their investigation is preliminary, it appears the craft crashed after clipping a radio tower guy wire.

Investigators are still looking into if mechanical difficulties caused the pilot to fly 50 feet below the top of the radio tower. Because of the fatal accident, air angels -- air transports have been temporarily halted.


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