Summit Air Ambulance Remembers Pilot - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Summit Air Ambulance Remembers Pilot

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BOZEMAN -

We now know the identity of the man who died in a helicopter crash near Thompson Falls over the weekend. Todd Hanawalt lived in Bozeman but died Saturday in an accidental landing.

"Not everybody gets an opportunity to go to a job they love," said Kris Kaull, Summit Air Ambulance Paramedic. "And even more so, people don't always get to go to a job where they consider their colleagues their best friends."

But Kris Kaull said Todd Hanawalt did just that. Kaull worked with Hanawalt at Summit Air Ambulance in Bozeman.

Hanawalt was working for a different company when his helicopter crashed near Thompson Falls Saturday.

Kaull said even though they deal with tragedies often as part of a medical evacuation team, it is still rough losing a friend.

"We're around sad things all the time," said Kaull. "It doesn't change our raw the emotions are around this base."

Kaull knew Hanawalt since Summit Air Opened in Bozeman 18 months ago.

That's also when Summit Air Ambulance pilot Mathew Williams met Hanawalt.

Williams described Hanawalt as optimistic.

"He was a bright and shining light for this company and this base," said Williams.  "Every day I saw him was fun. He was a great person to work with."

Kaull said Hanawalt changed the mood of the base every day.

"He lived life to the fullest whether that was his smile around the base, whether that was serenading us around the base with the guitar, whether that was doing what he loved which was flying helicopters." Said Kaull

Kaull says Hanawalt grew up in Montana doing what he loved, flying.

The other two passengers remain in the hospital -- their names have not yet been released.

Hanawalt leaves behind his parents and a brother and two sisters.

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