Accident Eurocopter EC 145 F-ZBQF, Saturday 6 June 2020
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Date:Saturday 6 June 2020
Time:12:48 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic EC45 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Eurocopter EC 145
Owner/operator:Sécurité Civile
Registration: F-ZBQF
MSN: 9064
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Col de La Taillandere, Pyrénées-Atlantiques 64 -   France
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Pau
Destination airport:Col de la Taillandère
Investigating agency: BEA-E
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On Saturday 6 June 2020, Dragon 64 was engaged by the departmental fire and rescue operations centre (CODIS) to assist an injured hiker in the Taillandère pass sector at an altitude of 1880 metres (6,167 feet).
While the rescuers were taking care of the victim, the crew, standing by in the pass, noticed that the clouds approaching the pass threatened the continuation of the rescue operation. After the crew announced this to the head of the ground rescue operation, the helicopter took off to retrieve the victim and the rescuers without delay by means of a "skid support".
While performing this manoeuvre, the main rotor hit the mountain side and the helicopter became difficult to control. The pilot moved away and steered the helicopter towards the pass below where it had just taken off, with the intention of resting there. During this movement down the slope, the helicopter's tail and the anti-torque rotor hit the ground.
In a final manoeuvre, the pilot managed to bring the helicopter to the ground. The crew shut down the engines and alerted the emergency services.
The crew, rescuers and hikers were unharmed. The helicopter was badly damaged.

Causes of the accident
The main rotor strike was due to :
- the lack of recognition of the recovery point prior to the intervention of the rescuers
- the lack of shared situational awareness due to communication failures between the crew and the rescue team
- the time pressure caused by the rapid change in cloud conditions, causing the crew to focus on the phenomenon in order to act faster than the weather deterioration;
- the late decision of the crew to perform a skid support, resulting in a lack of surveillance and guidance in the final phase associated with the representation of overestimated manoeuvring margins;
- the very small margin of real distance, which is not tolerant of error.
Contributing factors :
- a culture of permanent adaptation, leading to a reduction in any strategy of anticipation;
- the lack of recent practice of specific mountain techniques
- the absence of a work frame of reference for the execution of the skate support;
- the strong habit of all the actors to work together, which does not favour questioning or mutual monitoring;
- the feeling of control felt by the crew;
- the strong motivation to recover the whole rescue team with the victim;
- the flight engineer's state of fatigue, which favours the occurrence of errors of judgement;
- the low protection provided by the Standard Operating Procedures against fatigue.
The loss of control of the helicopter in the descent after the first impact of the main blades on the slope was due to the contact of the anti-torque rotor blades and then of the tail boom with the ground, which led to the failure of the aft power transmission during the recovery manoeuvre.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BEA-E
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report



Revision history:

06-Jun-2020 17:57 Aerossurance Added
06-Jun-2020 17:58 Aerossurance Updated [Location, Country, Source, Embed code]
06-Jun-2020 18:01 Aerossurance Updated [Location, Narrative]
06-Jun-2020 18:02 Aerossurance Updated [Date]
07-Jun-2020 07:01 gerard57 Updated [Phase, Damage]
07-Jun-2020 07:44 Aerossurance Updated [Phase, Damage]
07-Jun-2020 09:16 The2ndBaron Updated [Damage]
12-Jun-2020 13:00 lolo64 Updated [Registration, Source]
02-Mar-2021 20:19 harro Updated
07-Jul-2021 17:27 harro Updated [Time, Cn, Destination airport, Damage, Narrative, Category, Accident report]
17-Jul-2021 13:11 Aerossurance Updated [Total occupants, Departure airport, Source, Embed code]
09-Jun-2022 09:06 Ron Averes Updated [Location, Embed code]

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