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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 223712
Last updated: 9 September 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic BK17 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Eurocopter EC 145 (BK 117C-2)
Owner/operator:Sécurité Civil
Registration: F-ZBQK
MSN: 9372
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location:Schoelcher -   Martinique
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport (TFFF/FDF)
Destination airport:Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport (TFFF/FDF)
Investigating agency: BEA-É
A Eurocopter EC145 (BK117-C2) hit three high voltage power lines near the shoreline of Schoelcher, Martinique, during a rescue operation.
The CRW had just winched up a person out of the sea from a boat apx. 260m offshore.
Rescue-diver and the casualty were hanging on the winch apx. 5 m below the helicopter, when it flew into the power lines.
Huge sparks arised from the front radar-dome as well as from the winch-housing on the right hand side. The winch-cable released and both persons fell down into the water, but swimmed safely to shore.
The helicopter, callsign "Dragon 972", operated by the Sécurité Civile, French government, civil-protection-branch, managed to land safely after the wirestrike.

Causes of the event (translated from French):
No cable detection
The cause of the collision with the electrical cables was their non-detection by the crew. This non-detection was favoured by several factors:
- the characteristics of the power line and its environment (dry vegetation in the background);
- the absence of a map allowing the presence of the power line to be anticipated;
- the misrepresentation of the situation (absence of a line over the water);
- the focus of the pilot's and BOM's attention downwards;
- the lack of recognition of the area where the shipwrecked person was dropped off;
- probable overconfidence;
- lack of mention by CROSS AG of the presence of the power line.
Severity of the Incident
The presence of the SH and the wrecked man at the end of the winch cable when the power line struck was not a direct cause of the occurrence, but increased its severity. Indeed, when the winch cable broke by electrical melting, the two persons fell into the water. Their fall resulted in minor injuries to the castaway. The factors that led the pilot to decide to remove the two persons from the beach by translation are as follows:
- an unsuitable configuration of the helicopter (incomplete installation of the watertight cover in the freighter) resulting in additional maintenance actions to clean the sea water if the castaway was reboarded;
- a habitual bias on the part of the pilot, who has a great deal of experience in the mountains and has performed this type of manoeuvre frequently.
Three other factors aggravated the risks, fortunately of no consequence that day:
- the forgetfulness of arming the floats;
- the lack of life jackets worn by the crew;
- the decision to return to BH972.
Perception of the level of urgency
The investigation also revealed that the perception of extreme urgency for this mission prompted the crew to seek to save time. This contributed to the event itself and its severity by causing the crew to :
- not perform a pre-winch reconnaissance;
- take off with the waterproof tarpaulin improperly installed over the stretcher.
In the absence of a recording of the initial CROSS AG call to BH972, it could not be determined how the situation was described, including whether the floating object to which the castaway was hooked was ment

Sources: (Doesn‘t exist anymore) (photo)

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BEA-É
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year
Download report: Final report



Photo of F-ZBQK courtesy

Perpignan - Rivesaltes (LFMP / PGF)
4 August 2011; (c) T.Laurent

Revision history:

05-Apr-2019 14:20 Medevac Added
05-Apr-2019 16:30 Medevac Updated [Time, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
05-Apr-2019 17:13 Anon. Updated [Time, Aircraft type]
06-Apr-2019 08:30 gerard57 Updated [Total fatalities, Other fatalities]
07-Apr-2019 00:22 Geno Updated [Registration, Cn, Source]
07-Apr-2019 07:22 HeliNews Updated [Registration, Cn]
07-Apr-2019 19:57 RobertMB Updated [Total occupants, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
07-Apr-2019 20:08 RobertMB Updated [Time, Narrative]
04-Feb-2020 19:54 harro Updated [Time, Narrative]
30-Apr-2020 09:13 harro Updated [Narrative, Accident report, ]
30-Apr-2020 09:28 harro Updated [Narrative, Accident report, ]
02-May-2020 16:07 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Source, Narrative]
17-Feb-2021 18:20 deed Updated [Source, Accident report]

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