Accident Bell 222UT N222UH, Sunday 11 January 1998
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Date:Sunday 11 January 1998
Type:Silhouette image of generic B222 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Bell 222UT
Owner/operator:Air Methods Corporation
Registration: N222UH
MSN: 47545
Year of manufacture:1985
Total airframe hrs:6308 hours
Engine model:Lycoming LTS-101-750C1
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Sandy, UT -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:
Destination airport:University of Utah Medical Center Heliport, UT (UT21)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On January 11, 1998, approximately 2250 mountain standard time, a Bell 222UT, N222UH, operated by Air Methods Corporation of Englewood, Colorado, was destroyed when it collided with mountainous terrain in Little Cottonwood Canyon, near Sandy, Utah. The airline transport rated pilot, registered nurse, emergency medical technician, and patient were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the air medical transport flight operating under Title 14 CFR Part 135. The flight originated a few minutes before the accident.

The hospital helicopter was dispatched to transport a skier, who had been injured in an avalanche. Snow was not falling when the helicopter departed the hospital, but there were 'gusty winds and light to moderate snow' during arrival at the landing zone. The dispatcher telephoned the pilot (using a cellular phone) to advise him that hospital weather conditions had deteriorated due to a fast moving front. She said it was 'snowing really hard,' the winds were gusting to 37 knots, and visibility was less than 300 feet (she could not see a wing of the hospital on the closed circuit television monitor, and could barely distinguish the helipad). A sheriff's deputy said that the helicopter took off from the landing zone in 'blizzard conditions' and circled the landing zone, then turned north and disappeared from view. Seconds later, a deputy heard 'a slight muffled boom. . . The weather had grown steadily worse and the snow was falling very heavily.' Later, the helicopter was found where it had impacted mountainous terrain in a canyon area. Several tree tops were severed when the helicopter crashed.

Probable Cause: Flight by the pilot into known adverse weather conditions, and his failure (or inability) to maintain sufficient clearance or altitude from mountainous terrain. Related factors were: darkness, heavy snow, high winds, the pilot's perception of pressure that was induced by the conditions and events, and mountainous terrain.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: FTW98FA093
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 9 months
Download report: Final report


History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft

28 June 1992 N222UH Air Methods Corporation 0 Scipio, UT min
12 January 1998 N222UH Air Methods Sandy, UT w/o


Photos: NTSB

Revision history:

24-Oct-2008 10:30 ASN archive Added
29-Nov-2012 11:34 TB Updated [Location, Phase, Nature, Source, Narrative]
18-Oct-2022 11:54 Captain Adam Updated [Operator, Destination airport, Narrative, Accident report, Photo]
18-Oct-2022 11:55 Captain Adam Updated [Photo]

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