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HeliTorque :: View topic - Mercy Air 412 Crash - 3 Fatal
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Flight Safety

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Mercy Air 412 Crash - 3 Fatal
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 5:20 pm    Post subject: Mercy Air 412 Crash - 3 Fatal Reply with quote

Medical helicopter crashes, killing 3 crew members east of LA
Associated Press
DEVORE, Calif. - A Medevac helicopter crashed late Sunday near the Cajon Pass, killing the pilot and two crew members, authorities said.

The accident occurred about 6 p.m. as the Bell 412 utility helicopter left from Loma Linda Medical Center to its base in Victorville, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The pilot may have encountered fog in the Cajon Pass and authorities were investigating the possibility the helicopter clipped some power lines before it crashed and burned, Gregor said.

All three crew members aboard were killed. Their identities were not immediately released.

No patients were aboard the aircraft.

Several residents told authorities they saw the helicopter "in distress" before crashing, said Arden Wilshire, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

The helicopter belongs to Mercy Air Service, Inc., a subsidiary of Air Methods Corp., the nation's largest operator of air ambulances. Messages left for Mercy and Air Methods were not immediately returned Sunday.

There are about 650 emergency medical service helicopters operating in the U.S., according to the FAA. A federal investigation earlier this year found there were 55 air ambulance accidents between 2002 and 2005. The number of Medevac fatalities doubled to 62 in the 2001-05 period from the previous five years.

Federal safety investigators have recommended better pilot training, night vision goggles and crash avoidance systems to reduce air ambulance accidents.

Emergency medical services pilots often fly in dangerous conditions and are pressured to save lives. Despite those hazards, the operators are under less government oversight than commercial airlines and face fewer government restrictions when they are flying without a patient.

Devore is 55 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After posting a little safety tirade last evening in the EMS & SAR thread...

I received a call this morning about this EMS accident in southern California.
Another flying friend is gone.
Two flight nurses also.
Families destroyed.
A lifetime of sadness during the Christmas season.

I'm sad. I'm angry.

An Instrument equipped & certified aircraft.
An Instrument rated & current pilot.
Night flight with no moon illumination.
Low-lying, precipitation fog in the area from recent rains.

Why are these guys operating down in what I call; "The Hazard-Rich Environment"????

F*CK!!!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AJ - Can you PM me or post the pilots name.

Thanks
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's in your mailbox Heli-Ops.

Fly Safely Everyone!!!

James R Harris
Stanford Life Flight
Air Methods Corp.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DEVORE, December 11, 2006 - Authorities investigated Monday the wreckage of a medical helicopter crash to determine what caused it to crash into a hillside, killing a pilot and two crew members.

The accident occurred Sunday evening after the Bell 412 utility helicopter dropped off a patient at Loma Linda Medical Center and was returning to its base in Victorville, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The pilot may have encountered fog in the Cajon Pass before the helicopter crashed into a hillside and burned, Gregor said. The wreckage was about 55 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Several witnesses told authorities they saw the helicopter "in distress" before crashing, said Arden Wilshire, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

The National Transportation and Safety Board said it has not ruled on an exact cause of the crash.

"The investigation is looking at the man, the machine and at the environment," said NTSB investigator Patrick Jones.

The helicopter belongs to Mercy Air Service, Inc., a subsidiary of Air Methods Corp., the nation's largest operator of air ambulances. A Mercy executive said the company's satellite tracking system lost contact with the helicopter at 5:55 p.m., nearly 15 minutes after the crew had dropped off the patient.

Killed in the crash were pilot Paul G. Latour, 46, and paramedic Jerry W. Miller, 40, both of Apple Valley; and nurse Katrina J. Kish, 42, of Moreno Valley, said Craig Yale, the company's vice president of corporate development.

Latour was an Army veteran who had more than 18 years of experience flying a rotorcraft, Yale said.

The twin-engine helicopter was 19 years old but had undergone an extensive inspection in May 2004, when most of its parts were replaced, Yale said. "It was essentially like a new aircraft," he said.

There are about 650 emergency medical service helicopters operating in the United States, according to the FAA. A federal investigation earlier this year found there were 55 air ambulance accidents between 2002 and 2005. The number of medevac fatalities doubled to 62 in the 2001-05 period from the previous five years.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NTSB Identification: LAX07FA056
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, December 10, 2006 in Hesperia, CA
Aircraft: Bell 412SP, registration: N410MA
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

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.

On December 10, 2006, about 1755 Pacific standard time, a Bell 412SP helicopter, N410MA, call sign "Mercy Air 2," impacted mountainous terrain near Hesperia, California. LifeNet, Inc., d.b.a. Mercy Air Services, Inc., was operating the helicopter under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot and two medical crew members sustained fatal injuries; the helicopter was destroyed. A post impact fire ensued. The cross-country repositioning flight departed Loma Linda University Medical Center (94CL), Loma Linda, California, at 1742, with a planned destination of Southern California Logistics Airport (VCV), Victorville, California. Visual meteorological conditions predominately prevailed along the route of flight, and a company visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan had been filed. The approximate global positioning system (GPS) coordinates of the primary wreckage were 34 degrees 20.534 minutes north latitude and 117 degrees 25.884 minutes west longitude.

Reported weather conditions from VCV, 15 nautical miles (nm) northeast of the accident site, were visibility 10 statute miles; a broken cloud layer at 3,800 feet, and an overcast cloud layer at 4,900; temperature 11 degrees Celsius; dew point 03 degrees Celsius; altimeter 30.17 inHg. Weather conditions at Ontario International Airport, Ontario, California, 19 nm southwest of the accident site, were visibility 10 statute miles; a broken cloud layer at 3,800 feet, and an overcast cloud layer at 5,500; temperature 13 degrees Celsius; dew point 06 degrees Celsius; altimeter 30.19 inHg.

Mercy Air 2 had transported an injured patient from Phelan, California, to Loma Linda, and was returning to their assigned base at the time of the accident. Mercy Air 2 had traversed through the Cajon Pass in the area of the accident site five times previously on the date of the accident. The accident flight was the first flight of the day that was conducted during night conditions.

Mercy Air 2 was equipped with the OuterLink Automatic Flight Following System, a satellite-based tracking system that reports the helicopter's location to the ground base while it is in operation. The unit installed in the accident helicopter reported the following parameters every 30 seconds: date, time, latitude, and longitude. The installed system was capable of recording the altitude and airspeed, but Mercy Air had not yet installed the software upgrade required to make those parameters functional.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) reviewed the data from the Outerlink system. The satellite data indicated that the helicopter departed from 94CL and flew towards the Cajon Pass in a northwest direction. The flight path then followed the northbound Interstate 15 until it had almost reached the summit of the Cajon Pass. The global positioning system (GPS) tracked the helicopter as it continued toward the northeast while the Interstate turned toward the north. The last known position of Mercy Air 2 was recorded at 1755, and was 0.3 nautical miles northwest of the first identified impact point.

At 1800, the San Bernardino County Fire Department dispatch center started to receive numerous calls of an explosion and fire northeast of Interstate 15 in the area of Oak Hills. The first fire department responders to the accident site reported that the area was covered by intermittent waves of fog, which made it difficult to locate the wreckage.

First Responders reported that upon their arrival the wreckage site was fully engulfed in fire. The post impact fire consumed approximately 2 acres of mountainside.

The wreckage site was located on mountainous terrain on a 45-degree slope at an elevation between 4,000 to 4,300 feet above mean sea level (msl). The first identified point of impact was near the base of the mountainous terrain with the debris path emanating upslope.

The first identified impact point was a ground scar located next to the separated tail boom and the left skid. The debris path consisted of the tail boom, both skids, both engines, the main rotor assembly, and various other fuselage panels. The energy path was measured on a 155-degree bearing from the first identified impact point.

Examination of the maintenance and flight department records revealed no unresolved maintenance discrepancies against the helicopter prior to departure.
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