Accidents: October 2013
Preliminary Report: King Air 200 Destroyed in Water Landing
Beechcraft King Air 200, Lake Manyara, northeastern Tanzania, Aug. 22, 2013–A chartered Beech King Air 200 traveling between Bukoba, in northwest Tanzania, and Zanzibar was destroyed after it ditched in Lake Manyara. All seven occupants received only minor injuries and were rescued by a passing fishing boat. The pilot reported that while cruising at FL210, one of the aircraft’s engines shut down. The pilot immediately turned toward Arusha, approximately 40 miles east, as a diversion airport. Descending through 16,000 feet, the other engine shut down, but the pilot was able to ditch the aircraft in the lake successfully.
Preliminary Report: Bell 407 Ditches in the Gulf of Mexico
Bell 407, 62 miles southwest of New Orleans, La., Aug. 13, 2013–Three people aboard a Bell 407 received minor injuries when the aircraft ditched in the Gulf of Mexico after a loss of power. The helicopter, being operated by Panther Helicopters under Part 135 between two Gulf oil rigs, was substantially damaged. Weather in the area was reported as clouds at 3,400 feet with five miles visibility in rain with light wind.
Preliminary Report: Twin Commander Crash Claims Four Lives
Rockwell Commander 690B, New Haven (KHVN), Conn., Aug. 9, 2013–The commercial pilot and his passenger and two people on the ground died when the aircraft struck two homes during a circling approach to Runway 20 at New Haven. The aircraft was operated under Part 91.
The 690B departed Teterboro (KTEB), N.J., at approximately 10:49 a.m. on an IFR flight plan for the short flight to New Haven, where reported weather showed a 900-foot ceiling with nine miles visibility and a gusty south wind. The flight was initially cleared for the ILS approach to Runway 2 at HVN, with a circle to Runway 20. The HVN tower controller asked the pilot to report a left downwind for Runway 20, which the pilot did at 11:19 a.m. The pilot told ATC he would be able to maintain visual contact with the runway; that was the last recorded transmission from the aircraft. The last radar target recorded by the New York Tracon showed the aircraft 0.7 mile north of the runway at 800 feet agl apparently setting up for a right downwind.
A student pilot traveling on nearby I-95 witnessed the accident. He saw the turboprop eastbound in a roll to the right before it went inverted and headed toward the ground at high speed. The aircraft came to rest inverted, with the cockpit and left engine embedded in the basement of a home. The left wing was on the back porch. The right wing hit an adjacent house, while the right engine and propeller hit the ground between the two homes. A post-accident fire consumed most of the wreckage.
Preliminary Report: Helicopter Substantially Damaged in Forced Landing
MD369E, near Burns, Ore., Aug. 12, 2013–The pilot reported cruising in daylight visual conditions at 400 feet above mountainous terrain when he heard a loud bang from the engine, followed by an immediate loss of power. The pilot performed a 180-degree autorotation and landed hard on a forest-service logging road. Neither the pilot nor the passenger was injured but the helicopter was substantially damaged, with the tailboom and left landing skid separating upon impact. The MD500E was owned and operated by PJ Helicopters of Red Bluff, Calif.
Preliminary Report: Beech 1900 Damaged in Gear-Up Landing
Beechcraft 1900, Telluride Airport (KTEX), Colo., Sept. 1, 2013–A Beech 1900 on a scheduled Great Lakes Airlines passenger trip from Denver International Airport (KDEN) was damaged when the left main gear collapsed while the aircraft was landing on Telluride’s Runway 27. The crew was aware of the problem before touchdown, when the left main gear would not indicate down and locked in the cockpit. The aircraft circled at TEX awaiting arrival of the Telluride Fire Dept. before making its final approach. None of the 12 people aboard was injured in the accident. The degree of damage to the aircraft was not reported.
Preliminary Report: Forest Service Huey Crashes in Alaska
Bell UH-1B, near Tok, Alaska, Aug. 8, 2013–The sole-occupant pilot of a Bell UH-1B was not injured after a forced landing caused by failure of the aircraft’s anti-torque control. The Huey, operated by Northern Pioneer Helicopters of Big Lake, Alaska, under Part 133 external load rules for the U.S. Forest Service in visual conditions, crashed at approximately 3 p.m. The pilot told the NTSB the helicopter was in Tok to support aerial firefighting operations. He had just completed a water drop from a bucket at the end of a 100-foot long line, when he noticed he was unable to obtain full deflection of the helicopter’s anti-torque pedals. He subsequently returned to Tok Airport, released the long line and bucket and attempted a stuck-pedal emergency run-on landing. Unable to maintain directional control before touchdown, he forced the machine down on a grassy area adjacent to the runway, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage and vertical fin.
Preliminary Report: Two Workers Die After Helicopter Collides with Wires
MD369D, near Ackerly, Texas, Aug. 5, 2013–The MD500D helicopter, owned and operated by Haverfield Aviation, was not damaged when its external cargo long-line was severed after colliding with a wire suspended between power transmission towers. Two linemen who were being hoisted on the long-line, however, were killed after falling about 200 feet to the ground following the collision. According to the operator, the helicopter was equipped with a 100-foot-long external cargo long-line being used to hoist linemen onto power transmission towers. The helicopter was flying under Part 133 external load regulations in daylight visual conditions at the time of the accident.
Shortly after departure, as the helicopter was climbing toward the transmission tower, the long-line collided with a wire suspended between transmission towers, snapping the long-line about five feet above the workers. The pilot returned to the landing zone and made an uneventful landing. The pilot did not report any malfunction or failures with the helicopter that would have prevented normal operation. Weather in the area was also not considered a factor at the time of the accident.
Final Report: Helicopter Pilot Under the Influence in Oklahoma Crash
Eurocopter AS350B2, near Kingfisher, Okla., July 22, 2010–The commercial pilot on a Part 91 positioning flight for a later EagleMed EMS trip was under the influence of as many as seven medications that would have voided his medical certificate, according to the autopsy. The NTSB determined the cause of the accident was the pilot’s impaired judgment caused by the medications, which led to a low-altitude maneuver in which the helicopter struck trees before hitting the ground. The pilot and one flight nurse were killed in the crash, but one paramedic nurse survived. The investigation determined that the pilot did not report any of his prescription medications to the FAA, to the certificate holder or to the operator.
The helicopter had departed the Integris Baptist Medical Center Heliport (OK19), Oklahoma City, at 7:13 p.m. to pick up a patient in Okeene. During a post-crash interview, the surviving paramedic flight nurse said he recalled the left side door had come unlatched and was approximately half an inch ajar during the flight to Okeene. The paramedic told the pilot that he was getting out of his seat to close the door and secure the handle, which the pilot acknowledged. After securing the handle, the paramedic stated he was beginning to gather his seatbelt when he overheard a conversation about another pilot flying on a coyote hunt. The paramedic heard the pilot say something similar to “like this… (with some laughter)” and he then made a nose-down control input. The pilot pulled up on the collective, but the helicopter struck a tree.
The paramedic, who was not secured in his seat, was thrown through the windshield. He managed to crawl away from the wreckage and dial 911 on his cellphone.
The 56-year-old pilot had logged more than 12,000 flying hours and was qualified and current with both Part 135.293 and “299” checkrides. A review of the pilot’s medical history found he was being treated by his personal physician for several medical conditions and had been prescribed multiple medications since at least 2007. On April 23, 2007, the pilot reported he had bronchitis, hypertension and sleep apnea. His physician prescribed Nexium, for gastro esophageal reflux; Caduet, for hypertension; Flexeril, a sedating muscle relaxant; Lortab, hydrocodone and acetaminophen, narcotic pain medication; Lunesta, for sleep disturbance; and Requip for restless leg syndrome. The pilot continued to report to his personal physician that he experienced increased pain and was prescribed stronger pain medications, including prescription narcotics and benzodiazepines. In addition, steroid joint injections were applied to his right knee and shoulder to treat persistent pain.
During the pilot’s last documented visit to his personal doctor, approximately six months before the accident, he was again prescribed Caduet and Lunesta. The doctor added Omeprazole, for gastro esophageal reflux; Meloxicam, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory; Norco (10/325 hydrocodone/acetaminophen tablets); Baclofen, a muscle relaxant; and Valium (diazepam), a benzodiazepine. In addition to his prescribed medications, Chlorpheniramine, an over-the-counter sedating antihistamine medication, was also detected in the toxicology. There was no evidence that the pilot’s sleep apnea had been treated before the accident.