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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 226484
Last updated: 23 June 2019
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Type:Silhouette image of generic EC35 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Eurocopter EC-135
Owner/operator:SAF Hélicoptères
Registration: F-GOPG
C/n / msn: 62
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise -   France
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise
Destination airport:Courchevel Airfield (CVF/LFLJ)
Investigating agency: BEA
The pilot was informed by the head of the mountain rescue station that a rescue mission had been launched in the Tarentaise valley. The pilot took off from the Courchevel helipad to the intervention site. As he approached the pass, in order to identify the elements at risk around the landing zone, he contacted the trackers by radio, who indicated the presence of the chairlift and a Catex cable. The pilot identified them, then passed over the landing area and began his approach. He landed on the ski slope near the trackers and the injured skier at about 15:16. The emergency physician informed the pilot of the decision to evacuate the injured skier by helicopter. The pilot completed the start-up procedure at 15:20. He made sure that all passengers were tied up and then hovered over the ski run a few metres above the ground. He took off following the trail towards the valley. A few seconds later, during the level speed increase, the helicopter struck the cable of a Catex. Very strong vibrations appeared, the pilot kept control of the helicopter and force landed in the snow near a ski slope below. 
The accident resulted from the pilot's choice of a flight axis and an inappropriate take-off profile that led to the helicopter striking the cable of a Catex network. The impact damaged the rotor mast and caused strong vibrations that forced the pilot to make an emergency landing. The apparent "ease" of the response mission given the favourable weather conditions compared to the previous days and a possible state of fatigue due to very sustained activity during the previous nine days may have contributed to a decrease in pilot vigilance.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BEA
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 4 months
Download report: Final report


Photo of F-GOPG courtesy

Courchevel (LFLJ / CVF)
14 March 2014; (c) Joop de Groot

Revision history:

23-Jun-2019 17:01 harro Added

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