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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 221120
Last updated: 11 June 2021
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Date:25-JAN-2019
Time:c. 13:30 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic AS50 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Eurocopter AS 350B3 Ecureuil
Owner/operator:GMH Helicopter Services
Registration: I-EDIC
MSN: 4458
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 6
Other fatalities:2
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Rutor Glacier, La Thuile on the border between Val d'Aosta and France -   Italy
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Lago dei Seracchi-Cascate
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: ANSV
Narrative:
A Jodel D.140E Mousquetaire IV (F-PMGV) and a Eurocopter AS 350B3 Ecureuil helicopter (I-EDIC) experienced a mid-air collision in an area close to the Rutor glacier, at an altitude of about 2700 m.
The first contact occurred between the airplane lower right side and the helicopter main rotor. After the first contact between the two aircraft, the airplane broke up in flight, separating in at least 4 sections: the engine, the wings, the canopy and the tail. After the first contact, the helicopter suffered serious damages to the main rotor blades, which likely prevented the helicopter from maintaining control in flight.
The pilot and 4 out of the 5 passengers on board of the helicopter and 2 out of the 3 pilots on board of the airplane died. The French instructor pilot on board the Jodel and a German skier on board of the helicopter survived the crash.
At the time of the collision the helicopter was on climbing towards a heliski release area while the ski-equipped Jodel was on approach to a glacier landing area.

CAUSES
The accident, which consisted of an in-flight collision between the two aircraft, was caused by insufficient look-out activity by both crews, which should have been carried out it in a more incisive manner considering the restricted area and the critical flight phases in which both aircraft were operating.
The following factors contributed to the occurrence of the accident.
- The probable absence of bilateral radio communications between the crews of the two aircraft in the flight phases proceeding the collision.
- The limited or no visibility available to both crews towards the sector occupied by the other aircraft, resulting from the design shape of the respective aircraft and, in the case of the helicopter, also from the captain position on board.
- The sun position, in front of both aircraft, which could have significantly affected the crews capabilities in terms of visual perception of the respective positions.
- The critical aspects of AIP Italy, which do not make it easy for aeronautical operators, including foreign ones, to understand the relevant regulations/procedures, obliging those who consult it to carry out researches that are not always easy, not to mention the fact that the sources referred to are written in Italian and therefore not necessarily understandable by foreigners.
- The organizational behaviour of the Megève Aeroclub; it can be assumed that the latter was aware, at least since 2004 (when it was fined for an infringement of Italian law), of the existence of flight restrictions on Italian territory, but that its pilots continued to land indifferently on both sides of the border, in particular, as far as we are concerned, on Italian territory, in violation of Italian national law.

The investigation has not been able to determine with incontrovertible certainty, in the light of the evidence gathered, whether the crews of the two aircraft had transmitted their respective positions by means of self-information radio calls during the flight which ended in the collision.

Sources:

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1077872/alps-plane-crash-rutor-glacier-italy-latest
https://www.thelocal.it/20190125/plane-crash-helicopter-aosta-valley-italy-alps
https://www.corriereadriatico.it/attualita/rutor_incidente_elicottero_aereo-4255645.html
http://www.ansv.it/It/Detail_relazioni.asp?ID=2150
http://www.ansa.it/sito/notizie/topnews/2019/01/25/morto-pilota-e-guida-in-scontro-v.-aosta_4972bf80-7547-49f1-9e63-2bef1eb43019.html
https://starworksky.com/
https://www.france24.com/en/20190126-death-toll-italy-helicopter-plane-crash-rises-7

https://www.jetphotos.com/photo/9036317

http://www.ansa.it/valledaosta/notizie/2019/07/05/tragedia-rutor-spuntano-gopro-con-video_b1ace4bc-85e8-4f55-8c83-9380cc97b691.html

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: ANSV
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 4 months
Download report: Final report
Location


Images:


Photo: Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico (CNSAS)


Figure: ANSV

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
25-Jan-2019 17:08 gerard57 Added
25-Jan-2019 17:43 gerard57 Updated [Narrative]
25-Jan-2019 17:50 gerard57 Updated [Aircraft type, Source]
25-Jan-2019 19:03 JordyN Updated [Registration, Cn, Source]
25-Jan-2019 19:06 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
25-Jan-2019 19:13 harro Updated [Narrative]
25-Jan-2019 19:16 harro Updated [Photo]
25-Jan-2019 19:47 Iceman 29 Updated [Total occupants]
25-Jan-2019 20:55 RobertMB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
25-Jan-2019 21:00 RobertMB Updated [Source]
25-Jan-2019 22:00 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
26-Jan-2019 01:17 Geno Updated [Time, Phase, Source]
26-Jan-2019 08:22 harro Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
26-Jan-2019 11:02 gerard57 Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Source, Narrative]
28-Jan-2019 17:25 Aerossurance Updated [Other fatalities, Narrative]
06-Mar-2019 10:57 harro Updated [Time, Total fatalities, Narrative]
11-Jul-2019 17:09 MKAPPE Updated [Source]
16-Feb-2020 20:34 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
11-Jun-2021 17:52 harro Updated [Narrative, Accident report]
11-Jun-2021 18:02 harro Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
11-Jun-2021 18:24 harro Updated [Category, Photo]

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