Report: CareFlight pilot says he did not see power lines before Ohio crash
All three Premier Health crew members had minor injuries, but the helicopter took "substantial" damage, the National Transportation Safety Board said
MILFORD TOWNSHIP, Ohio — The pilot of a CareFlight medical helicopter that crashed in Milford Township last month said he did not see the power lines before the main rotor blades hit them, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.
At just before 5 a.m. on July 26, CareFlight was requested to the scene of a fatal crash at U.S. 127 and Hamilton Eaton Road in Butler County.
According to the report, the pilot said that about nine miles from the crash scene, he asked for information about the site, and the fire department on the scene said there were high voltage wires on the south side of the landing zone.
The pilot told the NTSB he knew the winds were calm, so he flew around the scene to approach from the south. He said he was watching for power lines but didn't think they would be in and around the landing zone.
As he approached, he said he couldn't find the wires, even while wearing night vision goggles, the report said. He could see the electrical tower but did not know which direction wires were running away from it, and even by moving the landing light up and down could not find them.
Ultimately, the report said, the pilot decided the wires were further out from the landing zone and descended.
At about 30 to 50 feet from the ground, the main rotor blades hit the wires, severing one, and the helicopter fell and landed hard, the report said.
All three crew members sustained minor injuries, the report said, but the helicopter received "substantial" damage.
According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector quoted in the report, all main rotor blades were snapped in half, and the main rotor gearbox and mounts were fractured. In addition, the left engine was hanging from the engine mounts, the stabilizer was bent and substantially damaged, the skids were damaged, and the helicopter was left lying on its left side, with all its weight on a single blade buried in the ground.
On the day of the crash, Butler County Sheriff's Capt. Morgan Dallman said that two cruisers were damaged when the helicopter crashed — one by debris that shattered a window and another by the falling power lines that fell across it. No firefighters or officers were injured.
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