Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Eurocopter EC 135 P2+, Air Methods Corp, N135LG: Accident occurred February 07, 2017 in Beattyville, Lee County, Kentucky

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Air Methods Corp:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Louisville, Kentucky

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA103
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Tuesday, February 07, 2017 in Beattyville, KY
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER DEUTSCHLAND GMBH EC 135, registration: N135LG
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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

On February 7, 2017, about 0520 eastern standard time, a Eurocopter Deutschland GMBH EC 135 P2+, N135LG, was substantially damaged following a hard landing and dynamic roll over near Beattyville, Kentucky. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. The helicopter departed from the Mt. Sterling-Montgomery County Airport (IOB), Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, and was destined for an emergency medical service heliport located near St. Helens, Kentucky. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the emergency air medical flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135.

According to the pilot, he was dispatched to an accident scene about 35 nautical miles from his base operations in Mt. Sterling. The pilot checked the weather and completed a risk assessment form. The forecast was for visual flight rules and he departed for the scene sometime before 0500. He further stated that he climbed to 2,500 feet mean sea level and noted the winds were from the southwest at 35 knots. He stated he was comfortable flying in those conditions, and had flown in similar conditions several times before. Once he arrived at the landing zone, he was cautious of electrical wires that were next to the helipad, so he maneuvered the helicopter over the wires at 100 feet to clear them and then started about a 200 foot per minute descent. When the helicopter was just above the ground, the pilot increased the collective but the descent did not slow. He stated to the crew "this was going to be a hard landing." The helicopter bounced when it hit the ground and rolled over onto the right side. The pilot told everyone to remain in the helicopter until the rotor stopped spinning to avoid injuries. After the rotor stopped spinning, all three occupants exited the helicopter. The pilot stated the were no known mechanical deficiencies with the helicopter prior to the accident.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the helicopter came to rest on its right side. All four main rotor blades were destroyed during impact. All four main rotor pitch links were broken from impact as well as the rotating scissors. The tailboom was fractured at the horizontal stabilizer/fenestron mount. The tail rotor and vertical fin assembly were intact and the blades did not exhibit any damage. The upper left horizontal stabilizer vertical winglet was damaged consistent with contact from the main rotor blades. The pilot's windshield and skylight were broken and the nose bow area was crushed.

BEATTYVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - Investigators are still trying to determine what caused a medical helicopter to crash in Lee County.

"I heard the helicopter coming and I thought, something is wrong," Lee County resident Kevin Goble said.

Goble is used to hearing helicopters nearby his home, but says this time it was different.

"I looked out the window and saw him. I thought he's going to fast, he can't land. I mean he was real low and it was about that time I heard it crash," Goble said.

Police says the medical chopper was responding to a single car accident along Highway 52 when it crashed into a nearby field in the St. Helens community.

"I thought he hit the highway. It scared me to death," Goble said.

Lee County Ambulance Director Steve McIntosh says all three crew members survived the crash.

Beattyville Police tell WKYT that police were called to the car crash on Highway 52 around 4:30 a.m. Police called for a helicopter to take a woman injured in the accident to the hospital.

We're told the Air Methods Corporation helicopter was approaching a landing zone when it crashed. The police chief says the chopper was close to the ground when it hit.

The Lee County fire chief said the pilot and one crew member refused treatment. Emergency crews took a second crew member to the hospital with leg and chest pain.

The woman injured in the crash had serious injuries because the force of the crash ejected her from the car. An ambulance took her to a local hospital.

The regional manager of Air Methods tells us they are working with the FAA and NTSB to determine the cause of the crash.

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