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Chopper back in air after fire
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Thursday, 29 November 2012 16:16

A medical helicopter will be back in service in the Verde Valley after it was firebombed last spring.

Charring and melting in the cockpit of Guardian Air’s Angel 3 medical helicopter indicate the amount of damage caused by a homemade firebomb which was thrown at the aircraft around  2:30 a.m. on May 25. After an extensive repair, the helicopter has been returned to medevac service.The helicopter, a Guardian Air aircraft dubbed Angel 3, was parked at Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood in the early morning hours of May 25.

That’s when Richard Butts, 26, allegedly threw a firebomb at the helicopter, similar to a Molotov cocktail. The improvised explosive caused fairly extensive damage to the front section of the nearly $4 million helicopter.

Butts was arrested and charged with arson, misconduct involving weapons, criminal damage and two counts of endangerment.

A pretrial conference was held in Yavapai County Superior Court on Oct. 15. Results from the conference weren’t available.

Prior to the attack on the helicopter, Butts had been convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia stemming from a 2004 incident. He has also been charged with disorderly conduct and DUI, according to court records.

The helicopter was sent to Louisiana where it was repaired by Premier Aviation, according to a report from Guardian Air Transport, the company that provides flight services at Verde Valley Medical Center and Flagstaff Medical Center.

For the full story, see the Wednesday, Nov. 28, edition of The Camp Verde Journal or the Cottonwood Journal Extra.



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