Federal investigators are now at the crash site in far northwest Arkansas trying to figure out what happened.


The Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter, based out of Claremore, crashed Monday afternoon during a mission near Cherokee City in Benton County, Arkansas. The helicopter hit the ground just after takeoff.


Pilot Dennis Enders of Broken Arrow, lead flight paramedic Clayton Bratt of Hulbert and lead flight nurse Dee Ann Miller of Bentonville, Arkansas were all injured. The patient on board, a 71-year-old man from Texas, died at the scene.


Witnesses say they heard sputtering as the helicopter was lifting off. Eyewitness Jana Austin: "It started rotating in circles, and then I thought, well maybe something is wrong. Then all of sudden I saw it fall. And once it came down, I'm like, I freaked. I thought I'd better run in case it explodes or anything."


The victim's name has not been released yet. A spokesperson says Bratt and Enders remain in serious condition. There's no word on DeeAnn Miller's condition.


The accident happened just north of Cherokee City, Arkansas on state highway 43.