PHOENIX — Two people are dead after a medical helicopter with three people on board crashed in “rugged terrain” in Pinal County, Ariz., officials said.

The aircraft company said early Wednesday that a third crew member is “safe,” but did not elaborate.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the helicopter crashed under unknown circumstances about 20 miles east of Apache Junction. The helicopter, which was operated by Native Air, was on its way to Globe, Ariz., when it went down.

“At this time, we can confirm that three crew members — pilot, flight paramedic and flight nurse — were on board the aircraft,” Christina Brodsly, a spokeswoman for Air Methods Corp., which owns Native Air, said in an emailed statement. “The FAA and NTSB have our full cooperation as they further investigate the accident.”

The Arizona Department of Public Safety was first notified of the crash at about 8 p.m. and the agency was asked to be part of a search-and-rescue mission, according to an agency spokesman.

Officials describe the area of the crash as “very rugged terrain.”

Contributing: The Associated Press.

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