Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bell 47G-2A, N64702: Accident occurred April 21, 2016 in Los Fresnos, Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket  -  National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Additional Participating Entity:  
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas

Hendrickson Flying Service Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N64702

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA161 
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Thursday, April 21, 2016 in Los Fresnos, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/01/2017
Aircraft: BELL 47G-2A, registration: N64702
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the operator, the commercial pilot of the helicopter was performing an aerial application flight when the helicopter struck a set of power lines that ran perpendicular to the field being sprayed. The operator stated that the lines were obscured due to trees.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's inability to see and avoid the power lines because of trees obscuring his view.

On April 21, 2016, about 1112 central daylight time, a Bell 47G-2A, N64702, collided with power lines, impacted terrain, and caught fire near Los Fresnos, Texas. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, was seriously injured. The helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Hendrickson Flying Service, Inc, Rochelle, Illinois, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight originated from Weslaco, Texas, at an undetermined time.

The following account of the accident is based up a report submitted by the operator because the pilot was seriously injured and was in the hospital: The pilot was spraying a cotton field between two sets of power lines that ran parallel to his flight path. The helicopter struck a third set of power lines that ran perpendicular to the field being sprayed. The power lines were obscured by trees. A ground fire erupted after the accident, resulting in the helicopter being destroyed.

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA161
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Thursday, April 21, 2016 in Los Fresnos, TX
Aircraft: BELL 47G-2A, registration: N64702
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 21, 2016, about 1112 central daylight time, a Bell 47G-2A, N64702, collided with power lines, impacted terrain, and caught fire near Los Fresnos, Texas. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, was seriously injured. The helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Hendrickson Flying Service, Inc, Rochelle, Illinois, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight originated from Weslaco, Texas, at an undetermined time.

The following account of the accident is based up a report submitted by the operator because the pilot was seriously injured and was in the hospital: The pilot was spraying a cotton field between two sets of power lines that ran parallel to his flight path. The helicopter struck a third set of power lines that ran perpendicular to the field being sprayed. The power lines were obscured by trees. A ground fire erupted after the accident, resulting in the helicopter being destroyed.




NEAR SAN BENITO — The pilot of a crop dusting helicopter remains in a San Antonio hospital. He received serious injuries after crashing in a Cameron County field.

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration will be at the crash site on Friday. Their job will be to figure out how and why the helicopter crashed.

Thursday’s crash was an event unexpected by all involved.

“I heard this boom. I turned around and I saw the helicopter go down,” Jeannie Guajardo said. Her husband, James Guajardo, described the moment the helicopter crashed in their field near FM 803 and Ebony Road.

“I saw a gentleman kind of stumbling out. I ran to him, I get him by the arms. He was all burned up. I walked him to my truck and tell him to go ahead and lay down in my backseat,” James Guajardo said. Jeannie called 911, as her husband helped the pilot.

The pilot works for the Hendrickson Flying Service. The company was hired by the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation to spray cotton fields around the Valley.

Lindy Patton is president and CEO of the foundation. He said he’s glad the pilot survived the crash.

“We're very relieved that he was at least able to walk away,” Patton said. “I know he had some injuries, and I think he's been sent to San Antonio, I've heard. But our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. I don't know the pilot myself. I did look at some of his information when we certified the contractor and his aircraft and his pilots, and he had extensive flying time. I think it was over 5,000 hours of flying time.”

Patton said they don’t decided how much experience a helicopter pilot should have.

“It’s up to the independent contractor; it's his business, his private business,” Patton said. “As long as they have the flying time and can do a good job for us, and to my knowledge, they've done a really good job. We've never had any issues.”

Patton said despite Thursday’s crash, their work in the Valley is not over,

Currently, the full identity of the pilot is unknown. It is known that he is from Alabama and working for the Illinois-based aviation company.

It was last known that the pilot was in critical condition at a San Antonio hospital.

Story and video:  http://www.krgv.com




Authorities are at the scene of a helicopter crash that happened late this morning outside Los Fresnos.

The accident occurred at about 11:30 a.m. on FM 803 and Ebony Road, said Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio.

Lucio said the helicopter pilot was able to get out of the aircraft before it burst in to flames. 

The unidentified pilot has been transported to Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen. He is in critical condition. He is expected to be flown to a San Antonio hospital for further treatment, said Los Fresnos Fire Chief Gene Daniels.

Authorities said the helicopter clipped the power lines in the area and crashed. 

A man in a nearby home heard the impact and called 9-1-1.

Cameron County sheriff’s deputies, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, local firefighters and Magic Valley Electric Company are at the scene.

Original article can be found here: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com





NEAR SAN BENITO – A 61-year-old helicopter pilot from Alabama is in San Antonio after crashing Thursday morning.

The crash happened between Los Fresnos and San Benito city limits on FM 803 and Ebony Road.

The remains of the crop duster helicopter are still on the private property. The Federal Aviation Administration will visit the scene on Friday.

Los Fresnos Fire Chief Gene Daniels said they received the call at around 11:30 a.m.

“EMS and fire department both responded when we got here. We had the helicopter on fire; the male subject that had been burned has been moved away from the fire. He actually walked away from the helicopter. We had a grass fire where the power lines went down, and the helicopter was on fire. So we had one truck working on the grass fire, the other truck was on the helicopter itself,” Daniels said.

The Los Fresnos Fire Department was able to completely put out both fires. Authorities inform the helicopter hit some power lines before hitting the ground.

DPS Sgt. Johnny Hernandez said the pilot remains in critical condition. He suffered severe burns on 75 percent of his body.

The helicopter was operating under the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation. It’s a foundation dedicated to remove the insect from cotton fields.

Daniels said the department had to be cautious when putting out the fire due to the chemical the chopper was carrying.

“You have to be conscious of what chemicals are carrying, identify them quickly in case they’re a hazard,” Daniels said. “There was less than 10 gallons of chemical in the helicopter.”

The scene is clear of any hazard. The fire department will continue to monitor the scene all throughout the day and night.

Story and video:  http://www.krgv.com

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