National Transportation Safety Board to lead investigation of fatal Flight for Life crash near Frisco
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that they would take over the investigation of a fatal helicopter crash near Frisco, leaving one dead and two injured. Jennifer Rodi, senior air safety investigator with NTSB, said her team would conduct an on-scene investigation through Sunday, but a full investigation would take at least 10 months.
“We will start the recovery of the helicopter later tomorrow afternoon,” Rodi said during a press conference Friday night. “The helicopter was an operated EMS helicopter flight repositioning for a purpose we did not know yet. We understand that shortly after departure, the helicopter started to spin, or rotate, and subsequently impacted the ground.”
In the parking lot west of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco, three vehicles caught on fire following the crash, including an RV, a pickup truck, and a camper. There were no individuals in the vehicles at the time.
Patrick Mahany, the pilot of the Airbus AS350 B3e helicopter, died at the scene of the accident. A Silvethorne resident and longtime pilot with Flight for Life, Mahany flew with Air Methods for 28 years. A flight paramedic and a nurse survived the accident, and were transported to St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood and University Hospital in Denver. Their names have not been released.
Rodi said two or three other individuals were injured during the emergency response, adding that one had possibly broken part of their wrist or arm while running toward the scene.
During the investigation, NTSB will look at the man, machine and environment as three primary factors in the crash. Jodi said investigators would look into the pilot’s background and familiarity with the airframe, as well as the construction of the helicopter itself, and the weather and surrounding factors near the time of the incident.
“We will understand whether or not there were any mechanical failures in this particular accident,” Rodi said. “If we find any mechanical anomalies we don’t want to rush; we want to make sure we have documented them accurately as they have the potential to affect other aircraft being operated.”
Representatives from the operator, Air Methods, the airframe manufacturer, Airbus, the agent manufacturer, Turbomeca, and the Federal Aviation Administration will also participate in the investigation. Rodi added that investigators from France may attend as well, as the helicopter was French-manufactured.
A report of the investigation will be available at the end of next week, at http://www.ntsb.gov.
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