Monday, March 21, 2022

Eurocopter AS 332L1 Super Puma, N950SG: Accident occurred March 19, 2022 in Azusa, Los Angeles County, California

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 Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Los Angeles, California

County of Los Angeles


Location: Azusa, California 
Accident Number: WPR22LA125
Date and Time: March 19, 2022, 17:04 Local
Registration: N950SG
Aircraft: Eurocopter AS332L1
Injuries: 4 Serious, 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Other work use

On March 19, 2022, about 1704 Pacific daylight time, a Eurocopter AS332L1 helicopter, N950SG, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near, Azusa, California. The two pilots and two passengers were seriously injured, and two passengers received minor injuries. The helicopter was operated as a Title 14, Code of Federal Regulation Part 91, law enforcement response flight.

According to the pilot in command (PIC), who was seated in the right-side pilot’s seat and on the controls, they were responding to an emergency call and selected a landing zone that was a turnout for a highway. Prior to landing, the PIC coordinated the approach with the other pilot and the crew chief and discussed the potential for a brownout and a tree hazard.

Subsequently, during the approach and about 5 feet above the ground, the PIC heard the crew chief call out “hold.” While the PIC slowed the helicopter, it became engulfed in dust. Shortly afterwards, the helicopter contacted a tree, descended to the ground, and rolled over onto its left side. During the rollover sequence, the PIC’s lap belt separated from the seat. All occupants exited the helicopter with the assistance of first responders.

The helicopter came to rest in the landing zone on its left side adjacent to a tree. All major components were located on or near the wreckage. The main rotor system and fuselage sustained substantial damage.

Preliminary examination of the right pilot’s seat revealed the two lap belt retention brackets fractured.

The helicopter was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Eurocopter 
Registration: N950SG
Model/Series: AS332L1
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built:
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: 
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 
Destination:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Serious, 2 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 Serious, 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 34.176519,-117.88304



Only one crew member out of the six occupants onboard an LA County Sheriff's Department helicopter when it crashed remains hospitalized Sunday, according to Mike Leum, veteran of the Sheriff’s Department search and rescue team.

Sgt. Kamal Ahmad, the crew chief onboard was released from the hospital Sunday.

Officials say they have to complete their initial investigation before towing the wreckage off the mountain.

The crew suffered a variety of injuries after the rotorcraft crashed in the Angeles National Forest near Azusa Saturday, the LA County Fire Department said.

The crash occurred at approximately 4:56 p.m. near Highway 39 and East Fork Road as the LASD Air Rescue 5 helicopter was responding to the call of a car crash on Highway 39.

The crew crashed before arriving to the car crash patient. The car was later towed off the mountain.

The rotorcraft, which is usually used for rescue operations, landed just a few feet from a 200-foot drop, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a press conference Saturday.

"The fact that it did not roll off, go all the way down, or that there was no fire is nothing short of a miracle," Villanueva said. “It was their turn to be rescued.”

This is the second helicopter crash in a month in Southern California.

On February 19, a Huntington Beach Police helicopter crashed in the water in Newport Beach when responding to a service call.

Officer Nicholas Vella, a 14-year veteran of the Huntington Beach Police Department, died in the crash and a second officer was critically injured as a result.

Onboard Saturday's helicopter when it crashed were two deputy pilots, two deputy paramedics, a deputy crew chief and a UCLA doctor. None of them suffered critical injuries, Villanueva said.

"We’re very thankful that everyone survived,” he added. 

According to the Sheriff's Information Bureau, as of 1:30 p.m. Sunday, three of the people in the crash were still in the hospital, while the other three people were treated and released.

The rotorcraft was a Eurocopter AS 332L1 Super Puma, Villanueva said. 

The FAA and the NTSB will be investigating what caused the crash.