Sunday, May 03, 2020

MD Helicopters MD 500E (369E) N8375F: Fatal accident occurred May 02, 2020 in Houston, Texas -and- Incident occurred May 29, 2016 in West Houston, Texas

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. 

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas
MD Helicopters Inc; Mesa, Arizona 
Rolls Royce; Indianapolis, Indiana 
Boeing Helicopter; Mesa, Arizona 

Location: HOUSTON, TX
Accident Number: CEN20LA167
Date & Time: 05/02/2020, 0203 CDT
Registration: N8375F
Aircraft: MD HELICOPTER 369
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Public Aircraft 

On May 2, 2020, about 0203 central daylight time, a model 369E MD Helicopter, N8375F, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Houston, Texas. The pilot sustained serious injuries and the other flight crewmember sustained fatal injuries. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 public aircraft flight.

According to initial information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a Houston Police Department helicopter was on a local flight near the George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport (IAH), near Houston, Texas, and its pilot had contacted air traffic control. The pilot was using flight following while he was conducting a search flight for a person near a bayou. A Department of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter contacted the controller, asked for clearance into the airspace near IAH, and was given that clearance. The DPS helicopter crewmember asked if the controller was still in contact with the police helicopter. The controller advised that radar contact was lost with the police helicopter. The DPS helicopter crewmember advised that there was an indication that the helicopter had impacted terrain.

An FAA inspector examined the wreckage site and documented it. The helicopter had impacted an unoccupied building and terrain. The wreckage was recovered and retained for further detailed examination. The helicopter was equipped with an augmented reality mapping system. The data recording device from that mapping system has been retained to see if it contains information pertinent to the accident flight.

The pilot held an FAA commercial pilot certificate and a second-class medical certificate.

At 0153, the recorded wind at IAH was 170° at 4 kts and visibility was 10 statute miles.

According to United States Naval Observatory indications, the Moon had set, it was more than 30° below the horizon, and it provided no illumination at the time of the accident.

According to a video taken by a witness, the helicopter rotated while in the air and descended. The conditions present in the video were consistent with the observatory indications. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: MD HELICOPTER
Registration: N8375F
Model/Series: 369 E
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: City Of Houston
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KIAH, 105 ft msl
Observation Time: 0153 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 16°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2500 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 170°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Houston, TX (HOU)
Destination: Houston, TX (HOU) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 29.947222, -95.395833 (est)

Josue Daniel Claros-Trajedo, 19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A man was charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer after he allegedly shot at two helicopters responding to the deadly Houston Police Department helicopter crash.

Josue Daniel Claros-Trajedo, 19, is accused of shooting at the choppers that were providing support after Saturday's fatal crash of HPD's 75-Fox.

The crash killed Tactical Flight Officer, Jason Knox, 35, and critically injured the pilot, Senior Officer, Chase Cormier, 35.

The Houston Police Officer's Union tweeted on Friday that Cormier was being moved to TIRR for rehabilitation.

"We have surveillance video showing him (Claros-Trajedo) firing at the helicopters, yes," said Prosecutor Sean Teare. "That's unacceptable."

Investigators believe Claros-Trajedo fired at least five shots from two different locations at the HPD and DPS helicopters that were hovering above the crash site, as first responders frantically worked below to rescue the officers.

According to court records, Claros-Trajedo hid firearms in an air vent in his apartment. Teare says police recovered the handgun they believe he used.

Over the radio, reports of "shots fired. Shots fired," and "we got a security guard that says people are actually shooting at the helicopters that are responding here," were broadcast that morning.

Claros-Trajedo, a Honduran national, according to court records, was arrested soon after the crash and charged with tampering, discharging a firearm and unlawful carry. Investigators say he told them he fired into the air while drunk.

Video captured by multiple people on the ground, prior to the crash, shows the helicopter hovering, before it begins to spin out of control and rapidly lose altitude, just before 2 a.m.

The crew was responding to a call about bodies floating in a nearby bayou. No bodies were found, and it wasn't clear if the call was legitimate.

Investigators do not believe gunfire is to blame for the crash, but the cause has not been determined.

Jason Knox and Chase Cormier 

HOUSTON – The road to recovery is long for Houston Police officer Chase Cormier after he was critically injured in a helicopter crash that killed tactical flight officer Jason Knox.

Cormier and Knox were investigating bodies floating in a bayou Saturday when the HPD helicopter named 75 Fox spun out of control and crashed into a vacant building in north Houston, authorities said.

Knox died at the hospital and Cormier was taken into surgery. Despite their heartache, Knox’s father councilman Mike Knox shared a touching post on Facebook wishing Cormier well.

“(Jason’s wife) Keira, (mother) Helen and I are relieved to know that Chase is on the road to recovery,” Mike Knox wrote. “We are grateful for this blessing. We ask you to join us in praying for a full recovery for Chase.”

He also shared a photo of the two 35-year-olds saying they were doing what they love and “Chase has the best wingman still at his side (from) Heaven pulling for him all the way.”

Cormier’s wife said he suffered a broken back and many other injuries but is slowly improving.

The pilot told KPRC 2 Tuesday that he is in a substantial amount of pain and still has numerous surgeries to go, but he is ready for the fight ahead.

“I have a strong attitude, will and determination,” Cormier said. “I also have a strong family network, peer support within HPD and friends. I am positive and I will recover. Many things are still unknown and will have to align before I can recover.”

Cormier said he appreciates the support he is getting, but he wants “the majority of energy and support to go toward the Knox family, Keira and their beautiful young children during this trying time and for the foreseeable future.”

To donate to the Knox family, visit

MD Helicopters MD 500E (369E) N8375F 
May 02, 2020

MD Helicopters MD 500E (369E) N8375F 
May 02, 2020

MD Helicopters MD 500E (369E) N8375F 
May 02, 2020

MD Helicopters MD 500E (369E) N8375F 
May 02, 2020

MD Helicopters MD 500E (369E) N8375F 
May 02, 2020

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- One police officer has died and another was critically injured after a Houston Police Department helicopter crash early Saturday, May 2nd at a Greenspoint area apartment complex.

It happened just before 2 a.m. in the 17000 block of Imperial Valley near Benmar in the Greenspoint area as the crew was responding to a report of bodies in a nearby bayou.

The tactical flight officer onboard the aircraft died at Memorial Hermann Hospital, according to Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. He's was identified as Tactical Flight Officer Jason Knox.

During a news conference, Acevedo said the pilot, identified as Senior Officer Chase Cormier, 35, was out of surgery but still severely injured.

Knox was a 35-year-old husband who had been with the police department for eight years. He was a father as well as the son of a Houston city council member.

"We're going to miss him. He had a heart of Gold," Acevedo remarked.

The chief went on the explained that officer Cormier was recovering in the hospital after having surgery for severe injuries. Cormier has been with the department for 14 years, having worked in the air support unit for three. Acevedo said he is hopeful the officer will be released from the hospital soon, but still requests prayers from the community.

Video captured from the ground shows the aircraft begin to spin out of control just before it crashed into a building at the Biscayne at Cityview apartment complex on Imperial Valley Drive. Video from SkyEye 13 showed extensive damage to the building, though no apartment units were impacted.

Acevedo made comment in regards to gunfire speculations, stating it is not uncommon for law enforcement aviation to come under fire. "Although we don't have any indication at this point, we want to start with a wide network in terms of our investigation."

Houston firefighters worked extensively to free the pilot and tactical flight officer from the wreckage after a frantic search for the aircraft when it went down.

"I want to just tell HFD that they did a phenomenal job," Acevedo said. "There was a lot of fuel that was spilled. On the scene, and you can imagine that's very flammable and when you're using instruments to try to save our officers, I think it was very heroic. Their efforts, they put their lives on the line. And as far as I'm concerned, they're in the middle of valor tonight when they were in that environment".

Federal investigators will look into what caused the helicopter to malfunction. Acevedo has suspended HPD's air operations while the investigation continues.

The rotorcraft flew under the call sign '75 Fox' and was one of four helicopters in the Houston Police Department's air operations unit.

May 29, 2016: Rotorcraft post flight inspection revealed substantial damage when struck by rifle rounds.

Date:  29-MAY-16
Time:  17:00:00Z
Regis#:  N8375F
Aircraft Make:  MD HELICOPTER
Aircraft Model:  369
Event Type:  Incident
Highest Injury:  None
Damage:  Substantial
Activity:  Public Use
Flight Phase:  UNKNOWN (UNK)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Houston FSDO-09
State:  Texas

HOUSTON, Texas -- Two people are dead and six others have been injured in a shooting in west Houston, according to the Houston Police Department, CBS affiliate KHOU reported.

One of the deceased is a suspect who was shot by a SWAT officer. The other is a citizen who was shot and killed inside a vehicle, police said.

According to authorities, the deceased civilian was in his 50s and was a customer at an auto detail shop where the suspect shot him.

Acting Police Chief Martha Montalvo said a police helicopter was also shot at with a "high-powered" weapon. KHOU reported the suspects are believed to have had high-powered weapons, AR-15s.

The HPD helicopter had five bullet strikes. Police believe the deceased suspect shot at HPD's helicopter, KHOU reported.

Read more here:

This November 21st, 2019 shows Houston police officer Jason Knox in a restored HPD cruiser in Houston. The Houston police department tweeted that Knox, a Tactical Flight Officer, was killed when a police helicopter crashed early Saturday, May 2, 2020 in Houston.

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