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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 150895
Last updated: 11 July 2019
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B222 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 222UT
Owner/operator:Mercy Air Service Inc
Registration: N417MA
C/n / msn: 47527
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Nipton, CA -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Pahrump, NV
Destination airport:Baker, CA
Investigating agency: NTSB
At 0401, in dark night conditions, the helicopter departed its hospital base en route to an automobile accident. At 0414 the flight crew informed the ambulance crew at the accident site that they were 16 minutes out. At 0416 the flight crew made a radio call to company dispatch informing them that operations were normal. At 0420 the flight crew contacted the ambulance crew a second time and informed them that they were 3 minutes out. At 0427 company dispatch personnel made two attempts to contact the flight crew, both of which were unsuccessful. After passing over an interstate highway, the helicopter impacted terrain in a near 45 degree nose low attitude. Two witnesses observed the helicopter flying low and slow, one estimating between 150 to 200 feet, and shining its searchlight before hitting the ground. Another witness reported seeing a very strong light sweeping across the ground from side to side and traveling at a very low height, comparing it to a police helicopter hovering low when searching, and said the helicopter appeared to be trying to land. Examination of the accident site revealed evidence of a main rotor blade separation with a debris field consisting of main rotor blade skin, honeycomb, and paint chips located 938 feet upstream of the main impact crater. Post-accident examination of the helicopter's component parts, including the main rotor blades, failed to reveal the cause for the main rotor blade separation. Examination of the aircraft's engines revealed no pre-impact anomalies.

Probable Cause: The main rotor blade separation while maneuvering for unknown reasons. A factor was the dark night condition.



Revision history:

27-Nov-2012 10:28 TB Added
21-Dec-2016 19:28 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
09-Dec-2017 17:48 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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