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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 173359
Last updated: 10 November 2019
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Date:21-JAN-2001
Time:15:21 BST
Type:Silhouette image of generic AS50 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Aérospatiale AS 350B2 Ecureuil
Owner/operator:Fisher Engineering Ltd
Registration: G-OROZ
C/n / msn: 2617
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Killyveagh Glebe, 10 km NW of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
Destination airport:near Cong in County Mayo, Republic of Ireland
Investigating agency: AAIB
Narrative:
Written off (damaged beyond repair) 21 January 2001 when crashed at Killyveagh Glebe, 10 km North West of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, killing three of the five persons on board. Eyewitnesses in the village of Monea, about five miles to the west of St Angelo airport, described seeing a helicopter flying very low and slow beneath a low cloud base at about 15:15 hours. The helicopter seemed to be trying to head in an easterly direction but low cloud over the hills to the east prevented this and the helicopter was seen to complete a 180° turn and head back in a west north westerly direction. One eyewitness to the west of Monea saw the helicopter disappear in the direction of Monea and a few minutes later heard, but could not see, the helicopter returning.

A short time later eyewitnesses who were about a mile northwest of Monea saw the helicopter descend out of cloud in a nose down attitude turning to the right. The helicopter was seen to pitch further nose down and turn rapidly to the right before plunging into a copse of trees.

This accident occurred when the pilot lost control of the helicopter probably as a result of inadvertent entry into cloud. Witness evidence indicating that a hydraulic failure or rotor RPM warning horn was sounding during the last seconds of the flight pointed to some kind of technical failure, but after extensive examination and testing of relevant systems, no technical fault could be found.

However, the hydraulic test switch was found selected to the 'Test' position and the investigation concluded that this could have caused the reported warning. Whether the horn caused the pilot to become distracted and enter cloud inadvertently or whether the horn came on later cannot be known, but it would have significantly increased the pilot's stress level.

If the horn was accompanied by flight in manual control, in IMC conditions close to the ground the workload would have been extremely high and the chances of successful recovery by a relatively inexperienced pilot would have been remote."

Contemporary press and media reports (see links #5,6,7,8,9) named the three fatalities as "Leading Northern Ireland rally driver Bertie Fisher and two of his children; Mr Fisher's 25-year-old daughter, Emma, and son Mark, 27, [who] were both pronounced dead at the scene. Mr Fisher himself was pronounced dead several hours later."

Registration G-OROZ cancelled by the CAA on 30 July 2001 as "Permanently withdrawn from use"

Sources:

1. AAIB: https://www.gov.uk/aaib-reports/as350b2-ecureuil-g-oroz-21-january-2001
2. CAA: http://www.caa.co.uk/aircraft-registration/
3. https://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/20067-aaib-report-as350-crash-nothern-ireland.html
4. http://www.griffin-helicopters.co.uk/accidentdetails.aspx?accidentkey=3459
5. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/1129508.stm
6. https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/jan/22/markoliver
7. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/12155082.Helicopter_crash_kills_son_and_daughter_of_rally_ace/
8. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/life/features/motorsport-legend-bertie-fisher-will-never-be-forgotten-as-new-book-chronicles-the-fermanagh-drivers-career-34231403.html_/
9. https://www.emigrant.ie/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4695&Itemid=32_
10: Photo of wreckage: https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-n-ire-helicopter-crash-106513895.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
28-Jan-2015 18:15 Dr. John Smith Added
28-Jan-2015 18:16 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
13-Jul-2016 12:05 Dr.John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]

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