HAMILTON, Ohio (WDNT) – The NTSB has explained what caused a CareFlight helicopter to crash while landing at the scene of a fatal two-car collision on July 26.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot asked the fire department for site information when he was about 9-minutes away from the scene. The fire department warned the pilot that there were high-voltage power lines on the south side of the landing zone.
As the pilot approached the scene, he attempted to find the wires, but could not see them, although he did locate the tower holding the lines. The release states the pilot continued to search for the wires using the landing light but he was still unable to find the wires or determine which direction they were running from the tower. The pilot was wearing night vision goggles at the time.
The pilot said he did not believe the wires would be in and around the landing zone, so he began his descent. As the helicopter landed, the main rotor blades hit the wires, severing one of them, and sending the helicopter into a 30-50 foot fall.
All the main rotor blades snapped in half, and the left ending was handing off of its mounts. The helicopter itself came to rest on its left side with one rotor blade buried in the ground.
After the pilot shut down the engines, all three crew members left the damaged aircraft and were examined for injuries at the hospital. According to Premier Health, all three crew members were treated for minor injuries in the emergency room and released.
“We want to thank the community for the overwhelming support of our CareFlight program,” Premier Health said in a statement after the incident. “We’re fully operational and flying to meet the clinical needs in the communities we serve.”