Debris from helicopter removed,victim remembered

Posted at 11:40 PM, Dec 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-13 02:40:36-05

The final pieces of wreckage were hauled away from the crash scene around 5 p.m.

A truck carrying the debris, a trailer and a Kern County Sheriff deputy made their way down a dirt road and onto Highway 65 east of McFarland. 

A mangled web of debris was piled and strapped down on a flat bed trailer. The SkyLife logo was battered, but still visible in the wreckage. 

The load of debris wrapped up a three day investigation from officials as they tried to figure out what may have caused the helicopter to crash on Thursday evening. 

The crash killed a four individuals on board. The pilot was Thomas Hampl, 49, the flight nurse was Marco Lopez, 42, and the flight paramedic was Kyle Juarez, 37. The patient on board was only identified as a woman, her name and age were not released. 

Lopez's friend and co-worker, Steve Lee, remembered Lopez as energetic, fun loving and a known jokester. He says Lopez was a joy to be around and an great at his job. 

Lopez wasn't scheduled to work Thursday night, but switched shifts with a co-worker so they could attend the company Christmas party.

"You know, he was just being Marco. He was helping somebody else out so that they could participate in the fun and, like I said, that's just the types of things that he did and that's what we loved about him," said Lee. 

Lee and Lopez worked alongside one another for American Ambulance for 15 years. 

"The guy was just intelligent, smart, the guy was just a great nurse, he really was," said Lee. 

Lee said he has not been to work since the crash and is unsure what to expect when he returns. 

"I know its not going to be easy and you know expecting to see him, expecting to get calls and messages from him, but um it's a huge void it really is," said Lee. 

NTSB is taking the wreckage to Sacramento where to complete their investigation. 

Preliminary results as to what caused the crash will be released within a week. Then entire investigation won't be complete for six months to a year.