Source AP ©

Officials call off search of missing medical helicopter in Alaska

The search of medical helicopter that disappeared in Alaska with four people on board was suspended.

The Rescue Coordination Center and the Alaska State Troopers made the decision Monday to suspend the search for the LifeGuard Alaska helicopter. Bad weather Monday prevented rescuers from searching for the helicopter and crew.

The helicopter was on its way from Cordova to Anchorage on Dec. 3 when it went missing.

The aircraft was providing ambulance service for Providence Alaska Medical Center when it is believed to have gone down in blowing snow.

A search helicopter on Saturday found the body of John Stumpff, 47, a flight nurse, on the north shore of Passage Canal, about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) across the fjord from Whittier.

The same crew spotted a helicopter door washed ashore about a mile (1.6 kilometers) east of where Stumpff's body was found.

On Sunday morning, searchers found medical equipment in the same general location.

Stumpff was one of three crew members, along with pilot Lance Brabham, 42, and paramedic Cameron Carter, 25, aboard the helicopter. Also on board was a patient, Gaye McDowell, 60, of Cordova.

The trip from Cordova to Anchorage is about 150 miles (240 kilometers) by air and usually takes about 90 minutes. Providence Alaska Medical Center, which leases the helicopter and operates the LifeGuard Alaska air ambulance service, reported the aircraft overdue after the crew failed to report position updates.

The helicopter's last transmission came at about 5 p.m. Dec. 3 from near Ester Island, 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Whittier .

The missing helicopter was one of two leased from Evergreen Helicopters of Alaska Inc., which provides the pilots and maintenance.