Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Messerschmitt Bolkow-Blohm model BK 117-A3, N911BK: Accident occurred December 10, 2012 in Compton, Illinois

NTSB Identification: CEN13FA096 
 Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, December 10, 2012 in Compton, IL
Aircraft: MBB BK 117 A-3, registration: N911BK
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 10, 2012, about 2016 central standard time, a Messerschmitt Bolkow-Blohm model BK 117-A3 helicopter, N911BK, impacted the ground near Compton, Illinois. The pilot, flight nurse, and flight paramedic were fatally injured, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage from impact forces. The emergency medical services (EMS) equipped helicopter was registered to Rockford Memorial Hospital, and operated by Air Methods Corporation under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a positioning flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on a company visual flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from the Rockford Memorial Hospital Heliport (LL83), Rockford, Illinois, about 1958 and was en route to the Mendota Community Hospital Heliport (14IL), Mendota, Illinois, where it was to pick up a patient for transport back to the Rockford Memorial Hospital.

The purpose of the accident leg of the flight was to position the helicopter for a subsequent air medical inter-facility patient transport flight from the Mendota Community Hospital to the Rockford Memorial Hospital. The request was received by the Rockford Memorial Hospital Dispatch Center and the pilot was notified at 1927. At 1959, the pilot reported to the dispatch center that he was departing from the helicopter’s base at the hospital. He reported that he lifted off with one hour forty-five minutes of fuel and three persons on board and was en route to Mendota, Illinois. At 2010, the pilot radioed that he was 12 minutes from Mendota. at 2016, the pilot contacted the dispatch center notifying that he was aborting the flight due to the weather conditions encountered. No further communications were received from the helicopter.

At 2015, the surface weather observation at the Rochelle Municipal Airport-Koritz Field (KRPJ), Rochelle, Illinois, located about 10 miles north of the accident site, was: wind 290 degrees at 8 knots, 7 miles visibility, light snow, overcast ceiling at 3,300 feet above ground level, temperature -1 degree Celsius, dew point -2 degrees Celsius, altimeter 29.94 inches of Mercury.

  Regis#: 911BK        Make/Model: BK11      Description: MBB BK117
  Date: 12/11/2012     Time: 0320

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

  City: ROCHELLE   State: IL   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   3
                 # Crew:   3     Fat:   3     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: WEST CHICAGO, IL  (GL03)              Entry date: 12/11/2012 


'Two nurses and a pilot were killed on Monday night when their REACT medical helicopter hit bad weather and crashed in Northern Illinois. Those killed were flight nurse Karen Hollis, 48, left; pilot Andy Olesen, 65, center; and flight nurse Jim Dillow, 40, right. 
Credit Rockford Memorial Hospital Facebook Page

3 crew members mourned after Rockford Memorial helicopter crash in Lee County

COMPTON — A Rockford Memorial Hospital REACT helicopter crew had encountered unspecified bad weather and had intended to turn back for home when it crashed in a field near Compton about 8:30 p.m. Monday, killing all three crew members on board.

Pilot Andy Olesen and flight nurses Jim Dillow and Karen Hollis were killed in what hospital officials said was the first crash in the 25-year history of the REACT helicopter program. They had been called to Mendota Community Hospital to pick up a critically ill patient about 7:30 p.m., said Gary Kaatz, president and CEO of Rockford Health System.

“Our hearts are with the families of Jim, Karen and Andy,” Kaatz said. “Our Rockford Health System family and in particular their co-workers at REACT, in critical care and in emergency services are in shock this morning. We ask for the community to join us in keeping all of them in your thoughts and prayers.”

The crash was in a Lee County farm field in the vicinity of U.S. 30 and Illinois 251. No patients were on board the craft when it crashed.

Stunned co-workers were being offered counseling if needed as they grieved, officials said. The crew was specially trained in emergency medicine and helicopter ambulance services according to information from hospital officials:

    Flight nurse Jim Dillow, 40, joined Rockford Memorial in 1996. He was a critical care and emergency room nurse with more than 10 years experience as a flight nurse.

    Flight nurse Karen Hollis, 48, joined the hospital in 1986 and worked as a critical care nurse. She had served in leadership positions including clinical resource coordinator and had more than 10 years experience as a flight nurse.

    Pilot Andy Olesen, 65, worked for Air Methods, a contractor that works for Rockford Memorial. He was an experienced pilot who began flying for Air Methods in 1994 and had been a pilot for REACT for five years, officials said.

Olesen was planning to retire next week, said Ralph Kuespert, pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Rockford, where Olesen and his wife, Pat, have been members for years. Officials were not able to confirm his specific retirement plans but said he had discussed retiring soon.

“He was looking forward to his retirement, and in the future, talked about moving to Texas to be nearer his children and grandchildren,” Kuespert said.

Kuespert said Olesen was a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam war when he served in the Army. Olesen liked to play golf, Kuespert said, recalling a threesome both Kuespert and Olesen were members of this year at the Rockford Area Lutheran Ministries golf outing. “He saved us a number of times, in terms of winning holes,” Kuespert said.

Karen Hollis had a vibrant personality that spilled over into the simplest tasks, said Christine Klekamp, executive director of Spectrum Progressive School, Rockford.

She got everyone excited about pizza and Bingo nights at the independent multiple intelligences school, where she was the current board president. “She rallied the troops, even though it was just Bingo and pizza,” Klekamp said.

Hollis and her husband, Scott, are parents of two children — Samantha, 12, who attends Spectrum, and Sydney, 14, who attended Spectrum for nine years but now attends Boylan Catholic High School.

Hollis also got into other events at the school. She wore an ugly Christmas sweater and Santa hat to go table to table selling tickets for a fundraiser for the school featuring a Second City comedy presentation at Giovanni’s in Rockford in November. And Hollis was spearheading an ongoing campaign to raise $850,000 to upgrade the school’s exterior and to expand the school by buying property to the north, Klekamp said.

Counselors and therapy dogs are at Spectrum today to help staff, students and parents deal with their grief, Klekamp said.

The REACT helicopter that was destroyed had a tail number of N911BK and was registered to Rockford Memorial Hospital.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Local investigators have secured a crash site the size of a football field or larger, Lee County Sheriff John Varga said.

They were forced to wait until morning to take photos because it was so dark.
Residents heard what sounded like an aircraft in distress about the same time an air traffic control tower lost contact with a Rockford Memorial Hospital REA

Read more:  http://www.rrstar.com