- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - A helicopter that crashed in northern Iowa, killing three people, was not equipped to fly in the wintery weather conditions at the time of the accident, a federal report found.

The report released by the National Transportation Safety Board focused on weather conditions at the time of the January 2013 crash near Ventura, KIMT-TV (http://bit.ly/1ouDhuo ) reported. The report said witnesses and first responders found mist, drizzle, freezing precipitation and icy roads.

The report said the helicopter was not certified for intentional flight into known icing conditions. It had heated ports but the rotor blades were not equipped with ice protection.

Negative toxicology reports ruled out the possibility that the pilot was impaired.

Investigators will use the report to determine a probable cause of the crash. The Mercy Air Med helicopter was carrying pilot Gene Grell, nurse Shelly Lair-Langenbau and paramedic Russ Piehl. They were on their way to pick up a patient in Emmetsburg when the helicopter crashed into a farm field.

A federal lawsuit filed by Lair-Langenbau’s family against the operator of the helicopter service is on hold until the board releases a full investigation.

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Information from: KIMT-TV, http://www.kimt.com

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