Monday, September 19, 2016

Agusta A109S Grand, N91NM, North Memorial Health Care: Accident occurred September 17, 2016 near Chandler Field Airport (KAXN), Alexandria, Douglas County, Minnesota

NORTH MEMORIAL HEALTH CARE: http://registry.faa.gov/N91NM

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Minneapolis FSDO-15

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA372
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Saturday, September 17, 2016 in Alexandria, MN
Aircraft: AGUSTA A109, registration: N91NM
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 September 17, 2016, at 0207 central daylight time, an Agusta S.p.A A109S helicopter, N91NM, impacted trees and terrain near Chandler Field Airport (AXN), Alexandria, Minnesota. The commercial rated pilot and two crew members sustained serious injuries and the helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to North Memorial Health Care, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and operated by North Memorial Medical Center under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as a positioning flight. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The helicopter departed Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport (BRD), Brainerd, Minnesota about 0135 and was destined for the Douglas County Hospital helipad, Alexandria, Minnesota. 

The pilot stated that he received a call for a flight request about 0100, accepted the flight, and then filed an IFR flight plan to AXN. He was in radio contact with air traffic control (ATC), but radar contact was lost about half way through the flight. About 20 miles from AXN he noticed clouds quickly forming underneath the helicopter. The pilot was cleared for and attempted the RNAV GPS 22 approach to AXN as clouds were still forming beneath the helicopter. The pilot initiated a missed approach by utilizing the "go around" function of the helicopters autopilot. During the missed approach, the helicopter made an uncommanded left bank followed by a right bank. The pilot attempted to counteract the bank by applying opposite cyclic control. 

The helicopter impacted several tall trees and then the ground and continued into a wooded area. Several nearby residents were awake at the time of the accident and heard the helicopters engines and then the sound of the impact. Two other witnesses were outside of their homes east of the airport and observed the helicopter flying overhead prior to the accident. 

At 0201, the AXN weather observation recorded wind from 290 degrees at 10 knots, 9 miles visibility, scattered clouds at 400 ft, broken clouds at 3,600 ft, temperature 57 degrees F, dew point 57 degrees F, and altimeter setting 29.87 inches of mercury. 

At 0209, the AXN weather observation recorded wind from 290 degrees at 12 knots, 4 miles visibility, mist, broken clouds at 300 ft, temperature 57 degrees F, dew point 57 degrees F, and altimeter setting 29.87 inches of mercury. 

The helicopter has been retained for further examination.



Three people are in critical condition after a Twin Cities medical helicopter crashed near Alexandria, Minn., early Saturday, authorities said.

The North Memorial Medical Center helicopter went down about 2 a.m. Saturday on the east side of Lake Winona while en route to the Alexandria airport. The three-member crew, including a pilot and two medical personnel, was taken to Douglas County Hospital before being transferred back to North Memorial in Robbinsdale, according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

North Memorial officials said there were no patients on board.

"I am extremely proud of our team members for their response at the site," said J. Kevin Croston, CEO of North Memorial Health Care. "Our immediate concern is with our crew members who are now being treated at North Memorial Medical Center. We are glad they are here. There is no better place to receive care."

The chopper appeared to go down on the northern perimeter of the airport, short of the runway, according to police scanner traffic. The airport was temporarily closed to all traffic in the aftermath of the crash.

Investigators have been called in to determine what caused the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been notified, a hospital spokeswoman said.

North Memorial owns and operates eight Agusta 109 helicopters, the fastest civilian helicopter on the market, which can reach speeds up to 180 miles per hour, according to the company's website. Air Care teams respond 24/7 to medical flight transportation service calls throughout Minnesota, areas of Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas.

Source:   http://www.startribune.com




Three people are in critical condition after an air ambulance helicopter crashed near the Alexandria airport early Saturday.

A  North Memorial Health Care helicopter crashed en route to the Alexandria airport at 2:07 a.m., according to a statement from North Memorial.

Three North Memorial crew members were injured. There were no patients on board.

Access to the crash site at 1438 Lakeside Drive was blocked by authorities Saturday. The crash site is near the eastern shore of Lake Winona and north of the Alexandria Municipal Airport.

North Memorial said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been notified.

“I am extremely proud of our team members for their response at the site,” Dr. J. Kevin Croston, CEO of North Memorial Health Care said in a news release. “Our immediate concern is with our crew members who are now being treated at North Memorial Medical Center.  We are glad they are here.  There is no better place to receive care.”

Shortly after 2 a.m., the Douglas County Sheriff’s office received a 911 call of a possible helicopter crash on the east side of Lake Winona.

North Memorial ambulance transported the three patients from the scene to Douglas County Hospital, according to Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen.

The three patients were treated and then transferred to North Memorial in the Twin Cities.

Douglas County Hospital was notified of the medical helicopter crash and immediately activated its Emergency Response Plan, calling in staff to assist in the response, according to Carl Vaagenes, the hospital's CEO.

"I am extremely proud of the response and performance from our staff and physicians who were working and everyone who responded to the emergency," said Vaagenes.

Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies, Alexandria Police Department and the Alexandria Fire Department also responded..

More information will be provided as information becomes available.

Source:   http://www.echopress.com



(Alexandria, MN) Douglas County Sheriff’s office received a 911 call just after two a.m. Saturday morning of a possible helicopter crash on the east side of Lake Winona near the Alexandria airport. 

Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies, Alexandria Police Department, Alexandria Fire Department, and North Memorial ambulance arrived on scene and confirmed it was a medical helicopter crash. North Memorial ambulance transported three patients from scene to Douglas County Hospital.

According to Douglas County Hospital CEO, Carl Vaagenes, DCH immediately activated their Emergency Response plan, calling in staff to assist in the response. All three patients were treated and transferred to North Memorial.
Normal operations resumed at 3:55 a.m.

Vaagenes says he is "extremely proud of the response and performance from our staff and physicians who were working and everyone who responded to the emergency."

No further information is being released at this time.

Source:   http://www.voiceofalexandria.com



ALEXANDRIA, MINNESOTA (KFGO) -- Three people were hurt in a medical helicopter crash in Alexandria early Saturday morning. The chopper went down on the east side of Lake Winona, near the airport just after 2 a.m.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office says all three victims were taken to the Alexandria hospital for treatment before being transported to North Memorial Medical Center in the Twin Cities for treatment.

North Memorial Health Care says it was their helicopter.   All three victims were North Memorial crew members.  The hospital says are in critical condition.

There were no patients on board.

The FAA and the NTSB will investigate.

Press release from North Memorial Health Care:

A North Memorial Health Care helicopter crashed en route to the Alexandria airport at 2:07 a.m.

Three North Memorial crew members were injured. All three crew members are in critical condition.

There were no patients on board.

The FAA and the NTSB have been notified.

North Memorial has issued a press release in response to the crash.  “I am extremely proud of our team members for their response at the site,” commented J. Kevin Croston, MD, CEO of North Memorial Health Care.” “Our immediate concern is with our crew members who are now being treated at North Memorial Medical Center. We are glad they are here. There is no better place to receive care.”

North Memorial will release additional information as it becomes available.

Source:   http://kfgo.com

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