Accident Eurocopter EC 145 N146DU, Friday 8 September 2017
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Date:Friday 8 September 2017
Time:11:30 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic EC45 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Eurocopter EC 145
Owner/operator:Air Methods Corp (AMC) opf Duke Life Flight
Registration: N146DU
MSN: 9474
Year of manufacture:2011
Total airframe hrs:2714 hours
Engine model:Turbomeca Arriel 1E2
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Belvidere, Perquimans County, NC -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Sentara Albemarle Medical Center Heliport (NC98)
Destination airport:Duke University North Heliport (NC92)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Four died after an air ambulance helicopter accident near the Amazon US Wind Farm East wind turbine complex in Perquimans County, NC. There was a pilot, two staff nurses and a patient on board.

About 1011, the crew radioed the company operations center and advised they were departing, and had 2 hours of fuel on board. They arrived at NC98 about 1022. At 1108, the pilot radioed the company operations center and advised that that they were departing for NC92 with 2 hours of fuel and four people on board. There were no further communications with the helicopter.

Preliminary data transmitted from the helicopter showed that it departed NC98 to the northwest, climbed to about 1,000 ft mean sea level (msl) and then turned west. The helicopter climbed to about 2,500 ft msl and continued on a westerly track at a groundspeed of about 120 knots. About 8 minutes after takeoff, the helicopter began a turn toward the south. About 1 minute later, the transmitted data ended at an altitude of about 1,200 ft msl and a groundspeed of 75 knots, while the helicopter was on a southeasterly track.

Several witnesses reported observing smoke trailing behind the helicopter while it was in flight. The smoke was described by some witnesses as "heavy" or "dark", while others reported the color as "black", "dark blue" or "blue." One witness reported that the helicopter was "hovering" and "not travelling forward" while it was a "couple of hundred feet" above the wind turbine farm. Another witness reported hearing a "popping noise," he then observed the helicopter turn left, then right. It then descended quickly and appeared "in control" with the rotors turning before he lost sight of it.

The helicopter impacted a shallow turf drainage pathway, about 30 ft wide and 2,000 ft long, located between two fields of 8 ft tall grass, on a wind turbine farm. The fuselage came to rest in a 7 ft wide ditch in the center of the pathway, and was oriented on a heading of 261° magnetic. No ground scars were present leading toward or away from the main wreckage.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that all the major components of the helicopter were present at the accident site. The cabin had collapsed downward and was partially consumed by a post-crash fire. The tailboom remained largely intact.

PROBABLE CAUSE: A failure of the rear bearing in the No. 2 engine, which (1) created multiple and likely unexpected and confusing cockpit indications, resulting in the pilot's improper diagnosis and subsequent erroneous shutdown of the No. 1 engine, and (2) the resulting degraded the performance of the No. 2 engine, until it ultimately lost power. The complete loss of engine power likely occurred at an altitude and/or airspeed that was too low for the pilot to execute a successful emergency autorotative landing.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: ERA17MA316
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report





Revision history:

08-Sep-2017 17:28 Aerossurance Added
08-Sep-2017 17:29 Aerossurance Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Location]
08-Sep-2017 17:30 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Location, Source]
08-Sep-2017 17:31 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
08-Sep-2017 17:33 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
08-Sep-2017 17:40 Captain Adam Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
08-Sep-2017 17:43 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Phase, Destination airport]
08-Sep-2017 17:46 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Other fatalities, Location]
08-Sep-2017 17:54 harro Updated [Source]
08-Sep-2017 18:14 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type, Source, Narrative]
08-Sep-2017 18:15 Aerossurance Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport]
08-Sep-2017 18:17 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
08-Sep-2017 18:21 Aerossurance Updated [Operator, Embed code]
09-Sep-2017 03:58 Geno Updated [Aircraft type, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code]
09-Sep-2017 07:39 Iceman 29 Updated [Time, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
09-Sep-2017 07:48 Aerossurance Updated [Phase, Narrative]
09-Sep-2017 10:48 TB Updated [Time, Aircraft type]
09-Sep-2017 11:58 Iceman 29 Updated [Registration, Source]
09-Sep-2017 12:21 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
09-Sep-2017 12:31 harro Updated [Registration, Cn]
09-Sep-2017 14:00 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
09-Sep-2017 14:36 TB Updated [Embed code]
12-Sep-2017 07:03 longpockets Updated [Source]
06-Sep-2018 10:02 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type]
02-Oct-2019 21:07 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
19-Nov-2020 21:42 Aerossurance Updated [Source]
31-Jan-2021 19:33 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type, Source, Narrative]
01-Feb-2021 07:55 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code]

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