In a previous post, we discussed the publicly-available facts regarding the January 29th crash of a medical transportation helicopter near the town of Zaleski, Ohio. In that post we speculated that poor weather conditions may have been a factor in that accident, which resulted in the destruction of the aircraft and the deaths of the three crewmembers on board. On Monday, the NTSB released its preliminary report regarding the circumstances of that accident.
The crash site was described in the NTSB report as being:
“… on a tree-covered hill and exhibit[ing] significant fragmentation. The wreckage and debris path extended about 600 ft downslope on a heading of about 345° magnetic. A portion of the front-left skid tube was found at the start of the wreckage path, followed by the main rotor hub and blades, tail boom and tail rotor, cockpit and cabin, and the engine and transmission deck. Tree branches broken about 30 ft above ground level were observed near the front-left skid tube. Additionally, one main rotor blade had separated from the main rotor hub and was embedded in a tree. The elevation of the wreckage area ranged from 850 to 980 ft above mean sea level (msl). There was no evidence of a post-crash fire, but a strong smell of fuel was reported by first responders …”
The NTSB report, which was complied with the assistance of local and state officials as well as the FAA, offers very little “new” information andnone that would contradict our earlier speculations. The report does, however, suggest that:
The NTSB report does make mention of an item that we noted in our previous post: two other medical flight operators haddeclined to undertake the same flight, with both operators citing concerns over weather conditions as their reason. Since there was a “last minute” change of pilots at Survival Flight, it is unknown if the second pilot received a full pre-mission briefing andmay have encountered deteriorating weather conditions once airborne.
We will continue to follow developments in this tragedy and will post updates as they become available.
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