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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 189667
Last updated: 17 September 2021
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Time:07:10 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic LAMA model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama
Owner/operator:Air Glaciers
Registration: HB-XEO
MSN: 2321
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:La Médettaz, Salvan Gorge, near Tretien -   Switzerland
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Ollon
Destination airport:La Médettaz
Investigating agency: STSB Switzerland
After the preparation, the crew took off at 06:55 from Ollon towards Salvan. The planned flight time was approx. 10 minutes. The pilot placed the first flight assistant on top of a pylon located east of Salvan in order to receive workers later. The pilot continued his flight with the remaining assistant in the direction of Salvan where they loaded the three workmen who were to be brought near a pylon located at the south of Salvan. In preparation for the hover drop-off, the flight assistant accompanied the three workers for the unloading of the helicopter.
The pilot had already carried out several approaches to the accident site with an AS 350 helicopter, completing his approaches practically facing the slope from below before the installation of the power line cables. This new obstacle thus imposed on the pilot another approach technique parallel to the power line, which he accomplished for the first time with a Lama helicopter.
The flight assistant knew the place because he had been there a few times. The drop-off place consisted of a flat area made up of large stones . The stony slope is to the left of the helicopter.
The flight assistant guided the pilot to the drop-off site. The pilot had no reference in front of the helicopter because of the vacuum and looked about 30 degrees to the left to be able to maintain his position. The pilot hovered over the rocks to prevent the skids from catching. The flight assistant opened the left door, left his left rear seat and got out of the helicopter. He then brought out the first worker seated in the front left seat. The pilot compensated for the weight transfers during the landing. The assistant made the next worker wait so that the pilot could stabilize the helicopter.
The left skid was 5 to 10 cm above the stones and touched them from time to time. The pilot turned his head back to the left to try to determine the distance of the blades from the slope. The assistant gave the pilot indications of height and position in relation to the square by radio. He brought out the second worker who was sitting behind in the middle. The mass load change initiated a movement of the helicopter. During this imbalance, the helicopter deviated to the right. While repositioning the helicopter on the drop-off site, the main rotor hit the slope in a position that was 120° to the left backwards in relation to the longitudinal axis of the helicopter. The destabilized helicopter entered in resonance, left the place laterally to the right with a yaw movement also to the right. The worker remaining in the helicopter was ejected and did not suffer any injuries. The helicopter rolled over on its right and came to a standstill about 17 m below.
The accident was caused by a loss of control in hovering flight following a collision with the terrain of the main rotor blades while removing workers from a confined site due to an incorrect assessment of the distance from the slope.
Subsequently, the helicopter overturned on its right side.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: STSB Switzerland
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 years and 12 months
Download report: Final report
Other occurrences involving this aircraft

4 Sep 1980 HB-XEO Air Glaciers SA 0 Jungfraufirn, VS sub
21 Nov 1983 HB-XEO Air Glaciers SA 0 Savièse, VS non
13 Oct 1993 HB-XEO Air Glaciers SA 0 Château-d'Oex, VD min


Photo of HB-XEO courtesy

Lauterbrunnen - Heliport (LSXL)
22 August 1988; (c) Michiel van Herten

Photo: Police cantonale valaisanne

Revision history:

30-Aug-2016 15:56 gerard57 Added
30-Aug-2016 16:24 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Total occupants, Location, Phase, Nature, Source, Narrative]
30-Aug-2016 17:01 Aerossurance Updated [Registration]
30-Aug-2016 18:11 Anon. Updated [Source]
27-Aug-2020 09:16 harro Updated [Time, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative, Accident report, ]
09-Dec-2020 08:48 harro Updated [Photo]
09-Dec-2020 10:05 harro Updated [Photo]

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