Tuesday, June 22, 2021

McDonnell Douglas MD 500E (369E), N371EE: Accident occurred June 18, 2021 in Swan Lake, Sullivan County, New York

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; Albany, New York
Rolls Royce; Reston, Virginia 
MD Helicopters; Mesa, Arizona 

Haverfield Aviation Inc

Location: SWAN LAKE, NY
Accident Number: ERA21LA262
Date & Time: June 18, 2021, 08:56 Local 
Registration: N371EE
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 133: Rotorcraft ext. load

On June 18, 2021, around 0856 eastern daylight time, a McDonnell Douglas Helicopter 369E, N371EE, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Swan Lake, New York. The pilot and lineman sustained serious injuries. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 133 rotorcraft external load operation.

The helicopter was involved in performing maintenance work to electric power transmission equipment. The pilot stated that the electrical towers had been photographed and numbered the day before. On the accident flight, the pilot hovered the helicopter near a tower while his lineman removed the safety voltage detector in order to make room for his shunt and begin maintenance. The pilot described that during this process it felt like a “bang came from behind them” and the helicopter began to shake violently while various cockpit alarms sounded. He stated that he had “limited control authority” as he pulled away from the power lines and looked for a safe area to land. He made a mayday call and descended the helicopter through the tree branches while attempting to keep it level.

According to the lineman, he heard a big “bang” and then repeated “bang” noises and felt the helicopter shaking as it pulled away from the tower. He attempted to turn around to see if they had struck something yet was unable to do so given the force that was pushing him onto his platform. His gear began to fly off the platform and he tucked himself into a ball on the platform when he saw that the helicopter was descending thru the trees. 

The helicopter impacted the trees and came to rest upright and canted to the left with the three main rotor blades fractured near their roots and the tail section intact and displaced to the left.

The wreckage was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N371EE
Model/Series: 369E 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Rotorcraft external load (133)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: MSV,1403 ft msl 
Observation Time: 08:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C /9°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 41.734462,-74.759441 


SWAN LAKE – A helicopter accident in Swan Lake just before 9:30 Friday morning injured the two people onboard when it became tangled in power lines as they were inspecting the Marcy South high voltage line.

The scene off Stanton Coner Road near Bushville Swan Lake Road required State Police and EMS to reach the accident on UTVs.

Reports from scene said the two people were conscious and alert.

Two medivac helicopters were called in to transport the victims to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

The FAA and state emergency services personnel were notified.

Two people were flown to a hospital in upstate New York after the helicopter they were operating crashed next to a nearby lake, FAA and local officials said Friday.

The FAA confirmed reports of a downed helicopter near Swan Lake in Sullivan County around 9 a.m. Friday. The agency said the McDonnell Douglas 500 helicopter crashed during an inspection of nearby power lines.

Two people were aboard the helicopter at the time of the crash, multiple agencies confirmed.

The county executive's office said both occupants were conscious and alert when they were flown to Westchester Medical Center for treatment.

New York State Police and the FAA have secured the crash site and continue to investigate the crash, a spokesperson for the county executive said.

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