NTSB releases preliminary report in medical helicopter crash - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

NTSB releases preliminary report in medical helicopter crash

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CLAY COUNTY, MO (KCTV) -

The National Transportation Safety Board released its initial report Wednesday after four people died when a medical helicopter crashed in Clay County on Aug. 26.

There were no survivors on the LifeNet helicopter that was attempting to stop for fuel. A pilot, flight nurse, flight paramedic, and patient died in the crash.

According to the report, the helicopter sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain during an autorotation following a loss of power near the Midwest National Air Center in Mosby, MO.

The emergency medical services equipped helicopter was registered to Key Equipment Finance, Inc., and operated by Air Methods Corporation, doing business as LifeNet in the Heartland, the report said.

The medical flight departed from the Harrison County Community Hospital, in Bethany, MO, about 6:11 p.m., and was en route to Midwest National Air Center to refuel. After refueling, the flight intended to depart and land at Liberty Hospital, which was located about 7 nautical miles from the Midwest National Air Center.

The report stated that the purpose of the air medical inter-facility transport flight was to transport a patient from the Harrison County Community Hospital to Liberty Hospital. The request was received by the company's communication center at 5:19 p.m. and the pilot was notified a minute later.

At 5:30 p.m., the pilot reported to the communication center that he departed from the helicopter's base at Rosecrans Memorial Airport, in St. Joseph. He reported that he lifted off with two hours of fuel and 3 persons onboard and was headed to Bethany, the report said.

Approximately 28 minutes later, the helicopter landed at the Harrison County Community Hospital helipad to pick up the patient.

While the helicopter was shut down on the helipad, the pilot contacted the company's communication center by telephone and notified them that about half way through the flight from Rosecrans Memorial Airport, he realized that he did not have as much fuel onboard as he originally thought, the report said.

According to the report, after a discussion about possible fueling and re-routing options, the pilot elected to stop en route at Midwest National Air Center for fuel, and then proceed to the Liberty Hospital helipad to drop off the patient.

The person, who was providing flight information at the company's communication center, informed the pilot that Liberty Hospital was 62 nautical miles, and that Midwest National Air Center was 58 nautical miles, respectively, the report said.

According to the report, about 6:11 p.m., the flight departed from the Harrison County Community Hospital helipad. About a minute later, the pilot contacted the company's communication center and reported that he had 45 minutes of fuel and 4 persons onboard and was en route to Midwest National Air Center.

He asked the flight follower at the company's communication center to contact the fixed base operator at Midwest National Air Center to let them know that the helicopter was inbound for fuel, the report said.

The report said at 6:41 p.m., the helicopter impacted a farm field about 1.7 nautical miles north-northeast of Midwest National Air Center. There was no postimpact fire.

At 5:54 p.m., the surface weather observation at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, located about 21 nautical miles southwest of the accident site, included wind 110 degrees at 6 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear sky, temperature at 31 degrees Celsius, dew point 13 degrees Celsius and an altimeter of 29.96 inches of Mercury.

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