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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 56376
Last updated: 10 February 2020
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Date:08-JUL-2001
Time:12:15 PDT
Type:Silhouette image of generic UH1 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell HH-1N
Owner/operator:NAS Fallon Base Flt US Navy
Registration: 158556
C/n / msn: 31641
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Granite Dome, Emigrant Wilderness, near Sonora, California -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:NAS Fallon, Nevada
Destination airport:
Narrative:
It was just after noon on July 8th, 2001. I was riding in a US Navy helicopter HH-1N "Longhorn 2" from NAS Fallon, Nevada, that was assigned to the Eric Tucker search and rescue operation in the Emigrant Wilderness near Sonora, California.

We were on a mission to install some portable public safety band radio repeaters on the top of two of the highest peaks in the area to facilitate communications for the search and rescue teams and the command post.

Earlier that morning, we had successfully landed on Granite Dome at approximately 10,320 ft. elevation. We were returning to complete our repeater installation after offloading equipment and refueling. The crew was going to make a "one-skid" landing, and I had already received my first tap from the crew member indicating we were almost in position. The next tap would have meant "unbuckle the seat-belt and jump out". Before the next tap however, the crew decided something wasn't right and began to wave off.

Unfortunately, the helicopter fuselage began doing full 360 degree rotations. I remember thinking to myself "Oh no! This isn't good! I'm going to die today in a helicopter crash!" I then experienced the two hardest bumps I've ever felt in my life. After the first bump I saw the enlisted crew member on my side ejected from the helicopter.

I assumed a fetal position and waited for what I was sure was going to be the final impact at the bottom of the cliff. The second bump was many times harder than the first. At this point I remember thinking, "Why haven't I passed out yet? Will it hurt when I die?". The twin engines were still running at what sounded like full throttle, but the blades were gone, and I realized that we were stationary. I was sitting in the right rear seat facing outwards. When I looked up, I could see Ridge Lake and Iceland Lake over my feet below and I felt like I was hanging there suspended in mid-air. The search and rescue wench was probably the only thing that kept the pancaked helo from crushing us inside.

All 6 crew on board escaped without injury. Aircraft not repaired and SOC Sep 4, 2001

Sources:

Scramble 271
http://braaten-family.org/ed/GraniteDome.html
http://www.helis.com/database/cn/6390/
http://www.joebaugher.com/navy_serials/thirdseries20.html
http://www.aero-web.org/specs/bell/vh-1n.htm
http://www.aero-web.org/database/aircraft/getimage.htm?id=5207 [picture of wreckage]


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
31-Oct-2011 23:50 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
10-Feb-2020 11:58 Iwosh Updated [Operator, Narrative, Operator]

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