Accident Mil Mi-17 12551, Friday 13 March 2015
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Date:Friday 13 March 2015
Type:Silhouette image of generic MI8 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Mil Mi-17
Owner/operator:Serbia - Air Force
Registration: 12551
MSN: 341М15
Year of manufacture:1991
Fatalities:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:LYBE -   Serbia
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Raška
Destination airport:LYBE
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
The military helicopter, taking a baby to a hospital, crashed in thick fog.
The helicopter carried four crew members, two medical staff and a baby.
All occupants died in the crash, according to an e-mail statement of Serbia's Ministry of Defense.
Later Serbian press showed more details: the five days old baby had severe health problems, after his mother (of age 16) left hospital just two days after the birth "by her free will". Baby had to be reanimated several times, first in Novi Pazar hospital, later during the transport with ambulance car. That was later stuck first in trafic jam, later on detour stuck again in snow in Kopaonik area. The Serbian Army helicopter was called and took the baby onboard, alongide with 2 medical staff, 2 technicians and 2 pilots. At Beograd airport, weather conditions were bad with thick fog, one of the serbian media speculation is, whether the helicopter had anough fuel after the flight and holding around Belgrade airport Nikola Tesla.

The Mi-17 managed to reach its outbound destination despite severe weather and low cloud, flying using visual flight rules at an altitude of 6,200ft. After collecting the infant the helicopter headed back to Belgrade – but instead of landing at the AFB or military hospital in Belgrade as planned, ATC called for it to fly to the international airport where ambulances were waiting. This was apparently on the instructions of the Serbian air force operations centre, which also cited low cloud base as a reason for the change. The aircraft then missed the first approach, and on the second approach the deteriorating weather contributed to the crash.

At one point, ATC advised that the helicopter was right above the runway, but later findings showed that it was in fact 985ft off threshold and 460ft above ground level. ATC failed to advise the crew that it was actually higher than cloud base and, when a climb was requested, the aircraft lost its orientation and crashed into the ground at an airspeed of 220km/h, with the nose gear and cockpit being the first points of impact.

Making a number of recommendations, the Serbian air force commission’s report points to insufficient pilot training, inadequate or even below-standard operating procedures for helicopter emergency medical service flights, a lack of regulations for multi-crew aircraft and work pressure on the search and rescue (SAR) team members.

A lack of required flight and safety gear “as per earlier requests” – such as night vision/forward-looking infrared equipment, hoists and cranes, helmets for the Mi-8/17 crews and safety belts for flight engineers and passengers – was also identified.


Revision history:

14-Mar-2015 08:27 gerard57 Added
14-Mar-2015 10:36 gerard57 Updated [Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Source, Narrative]
14-Mar-2015 15:42 TB Updated [Time, Location, Nature, Damage]
14-Mar-2015 18:25 BRC Updated [Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport]
14-Mar-2015 21:26 Anon. Updated [Source, Narrative]
08-Apr-2015 21:33 Aerossurance Updated [Phase, Source]
09-Apr-2015 19:45 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]

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