1 Killed, 3 Injured in Allegheny Energy Helicopter Crash in West Virginia


UPDATE:    Victim identified as Gary Bland, 52, of Georgia. Those injured identified as Robert Rogers, Ryan Lang and Jeffrey McCay. All three treated and released from Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. 

The investigation into what brought down a helicopter in a rural area of Tucker County over the weekend, killing one, is still under investigation. 

Doug Colafella with Allegheny Energy says those involved in the crash were not Allegheny Energy employees. 

“There were four employees of subcontractors that were doing work related to the construction of our Trans Allegheny Interstate Line transmission line,” Colafella said. 

The pilot and the three linemen based out of Kansas City were working on the TrAIL project about 10:30 Saturday morning when disaster struck. 

“They were attaching wires to a tower, essentially using a helicopter to hover right up to the top of a transmission tower,” Colafella told MetroNews Monday. “The line workers had exited the chopper onto the tower, had permanently coupled shield wire to the tower, had completed the work, re-boarded the helicopter, when at that time something occurred and the helicopter came down.” 

One of the linemen was killed, the pilot and two other linemen were injured and flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. 

Colafella says Allegheny Energy prides itself on its safety record and they’re mourning the loss of a worker they’d come to know well. 

“We are really deeply saddened by this accident,” he said. “These were subcontractors of Allegheny. But our employees and these folks work in the field together and have worked together on this from the very beginning.” 

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating the crash.

Pilot Killed in MN Helicopter Crash was from California

ROCHESTER, MN — Authorities say a California man was crop dusting when his helicopter crashed in a southern Minnesota field, killing him.

Olmsted County authorities say Sunday that 68-year-old Allen Joseph Broussard of Grenada Hills was a contract pilot who spent the last seven summers dusting fields in Minnesota.

He was the only person in the helicopter when it crashed near Rochester on Saturday.

Authorities say the 1967 Bell model 47G4A helicopter was owned by Scott’s Helicopter Service of LeSueur.

At the time of the accident, the aircraft had been refueled and taken on more insecticide. Witnesses told authorities they saw a flame and smoke coming from the exhaust area before the crash. The helicopter was found in a grassy area between crop fields, and it was leaking kerosene fuel.

Broussard was found unconscious and partially outside the wreckage of the helicopter.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB are curently investigating.

Agricultural Helicopter Crash Kills Pilot in Kentucky

Monday, July 05, 2010 in Marion, KY
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44, registration: N857PM
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary NTSB information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On July 5, 2010, at 1745 central daylight time, a Robinson R-44, N857PM, collided with a guy wire near Marion, Kentucky. The certificated commercial pilot was killed, and the helicopter was substantially damaged by impact forces and post crash fire. The flight was operated as an aerial application flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137, and no flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to a witness, the pilot was conducting aerial spray operations in a corn field at the time of the accident. He watched as the helicopter took off and flew to the edge of the field to begin a chemical application. As he turned away he heard a loud “pop”, and turned around to see the origin of the noise. He watched as the helicopter became entangled in a guy wire, before colliding with the ground. The helicopter burst into flames, and there was no movement of the pilot in the cockpit.

The pilot, age 55, held a commercial pilot certificate with a commercial-rotorcraft rating. The pilot’s most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical examination was conducted on September 17, 2009, for a second-class medical certificate with limitations for lenses for distance vision. The pilot reported 450 total flight hours on his last medical application, and 100 flight hours within the last six months of his exam. The pilot’s logbook was not available for review, and a determination of his total flight hours has not been verified.

The four-seat, skid equipped helicopter, serial number 1034 was manufactured in 2001. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-540, 250-horsepower engine. The hour meter was destroyed by post crash fire and the current airframe hours could not be determined. There were no aircraft logbooks available for review.

Examination of the helicopter by a FAA inspector revealed that the helicopter collided with a guy wire before colliding with the ground. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit through the tail rotor system and from the cockpit cyclic and collective controls through the main rotor head. The airframe and flight control system components revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction.

Logging Helicopter Crashes Near Donnelly, Idaho

On June 16, 2010, about 1340 mountain daylight time, a Kaman K-1200 helicopter, N134WC, impacted the terrain about five miles west of Donnelly, Idaho. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant of the helicopter, was killed in the accident sequence, and the helicopter, which was owned and operated by Woody Contracting Inc., sustained substantial damage. The 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 133 long-line logging flight had been airborne for an as of yet undetermined period of time. The flight was taking place in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan had been filed.

According to witnesses, the helicopter, which was using a 200 foot long-line, had just lifted a load of logs clear of the ground, when a loud noise was heard emanating from the helicopter. Immediately thereafter, witnesses saw portions of the helicopter’s counter-rotating rotor system separating from the helicopter. The helicopter then immediately fell to the rough terrain below. There was no fire.

Judge Approves $1.2M Helicopter Crash Settlement

A judge in Kenosha County, Wisconsin has approved a $1.2 million settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of a woman who died in a 2008 helicopter crash.

The estate of Alan Sapko, who was piloting the helicopter and also died in the crash,  will pay the family of Joan Anzalone.  Ms Analone was a passenger who died when the helicopter crashed into a home in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on a foggy September morning in 2008.  The five people in the house were not injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board ruled pilot error caused the crash. Investigators said Sapko failed to maintain proper altitude before the crash.

Arizona Helicopter Crash Kills Three

Three individuals, including a child, died when the helicopter they rode in crashed approximately 35 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said.

According to the FAA, investigators had yet to determine the exact cause of the crash.  The Eurocopter EC135 crashed and burst into flames at approximately 3 p.m. local time west of Cave Creek, Arizona.

FAA agents were enroute to the scene, and an NTSB investigator was also scheduled to arrive.

8 Dead In Fatal Oil Platform Helicopter Crash


NORTH SEA – 01 April 2009 18:17 GMT

The helicopter crash on occurred only six weeks after another Bond Super Puma helicopter crashed into the North Sea.

In that incident, all 18 people on board were saved. Eight people have already been confirmed dead from accident with another eight feared dead.

The Super Puma is widely used because it is considered to have a good safety record.

A preliminary Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) report into the North Sea crash concluded Michael Tweedie, commander of the helicopter, had been unable to identify the landing pad of the BP platform the helicopter was attempting to land on.


Since then, the AAIB said that Bond has issued fresh guidance to pilots who were trying to land in adverse weather conditions. It is believed there were no adverse weather conditions involved in this crash.

Those who work in the oil industry say every helicopter incident has to be treated individually. Traveling to and from oil platforms by helicopter can be a hazardous journey. 

The worst incident occurred in 1986, when 45 people died in a Chinook helicopter crash.

In 1992, eleven were killed when a Super Puma crashed shortly after take-off.

Louisiana Helicopter Crash – Legal Help Nationwide

Louisiana Helicopter Crash

PHI, Inc. the owner of the Sikorsky S76 medium transport helicopter that crashed in Louisiana on Sunday announced the names of the men killed. 

  • Allen Boudreaux Ama, LA Dynamic
  • Andrew Moricio Morgan City, LA Dynamic 
  • Ezequiel Cantu Morgan City, LA Dynamic
  • Randy Tarpley Jonesville, LA Dynamic
  • Charles W. Nelson Pensacola, FL MMR
  • Jorey A. Rivero Bridge City, LA MMR
  • Thomas E. Ballenger Eufaula, AL PHI Pilot-in-Command
  • Vyarl W. Martin Hurst, TX PHI Second-in Command

The only surviving passenger from this Louisiana PHI helicopter crash is Steven Yeltin of Floresville, TX, who works for Dynamic. Yeltin is listed in critical condition at a Houma, Louisiana hospital. These names had been withheld until next of kin were notified as indicated in the previous article concerning this PHI helicopter crash

This is the second tragic accident for PHI within the past year. It comes on the heels of another deadly crash involving a Rotorcraft helicopter headed to an oil platform last month.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) crash investigators have started investigating the crash site, taking statements and begin debris inspection and collection.

PHI is a primary provider of helicopter services to oil and gas platforms that dot the coast of Louisiana.  In June, a PHI Air Medical helicopter crashed in East Texas, killing four. The medivac helicopter crash in the Sam Houston National Forest killed the pilot, paramedic, nurse and a patient who was being transported from Huntsville to Houston. That crew agreed to transport the patient after another helicopter company abandoned the mission saying that cloud cover was too low, making visibility poor in the early-morning darkness.

Talk to a Helicopter Crash Lawyer

If you have lost a loved one in this tragic PHI Helicopter Crash in Louisiana, then call us and speak to an attorney that understands helicopter crashes involving PHI and is very familar with PHI, Inc and other crashes, especially the 2008 crash in East Texas as the Willis Law Firm is representing one of the family of one of the passengers.  Often we can fly and visit with you in person within 24 hours to meet you and explain the NTSB crash investigation process and the estimated timeline of events surrounding crash investigations and the legal process and help you and your family in filing the necessary paperwork that is necessary in sudden accidents and wrongful deaths.

Let us know if we can help.

NTSB Report on Fatal Lousiana Helicopter Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board opened its public docket on the January 2009 helicopter accident that killed 8 persons.

On January 4, 2009, a Sikorsky S-76C++ helicopter (N748P), operated by PHI, Inc., crashed into swampy terrain just north of the Gulf of Mexico coastline near Morgan City, Louisiana.  The aircraft was on a Part 135 revenue flight to an oil platform when it crashed about 7 minutes after takeoff.  Eight of the nine persons aboard lost their lives.

The docket contains factual reports prepared by the investigative team, including reports on aircraft structures, aircraft systems, the transcript of the cockpit voice recorder, and toxicology reports.  A comprehensive materials laboratory report on the windscreen structure and a report on the flight data recorder information will be added to the docket.

NTSB Report Bell 206L Helicopter Crash in Indiana

NTSB Report # CHI08FA269
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 31, 2008 in Greensburg, IN
Aircraft: Bell 206L-1, registration: N37AE
Injuries: 3 Fatal. 

On August 31, 2008, about 1320 eastern daylight time, a Bell 206L-1 helicopter, N37AE, operated by Air Evac EMS Inc., was destroyed during an in-flight collision with terrain and post impact fire near Greensburg, Indiana. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The pilot, flight nurse, and paramedic, sustained fatal injuries. The accident flight departed at 1215 from Burney, Indiana, with the intention of returning to the aircraft’s base located in Rushville, Indiana.

The crew had attended a local fund raising event for the Burney fire station in a community support role. No patient transport activity was associated with the flight to the fire station, or with the accident flight.

Witnesses reported that the helicopter appeared to depart the fire station without difficulty. One witness recalled seeing the helicopter clear a set of high-tension power lines east of the departure point. Witnesses stated that they subsequently saw components separate from the aircraft in-flight before impact.

The initial on-scene investigation revealed the helicopter came to rest about 1.2 miles northeast of the departure point. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, tail boom, and landing skids. The fuselage was consumed by a post impact fire. The tail boom and landing skids separated from the fuselage. The tail boom was located about 10 feet south of the fuselage, and the skids were located about 10 feet southwest of the fuselage. The rotor blade/hub assembly separated at the rotor mast and came to rest approximately 200 yards west-southwest of the fuselage. The main rotor blades remained attached to the hub. One blade remained intact. The other blade was fractured into three sections, with the inboard blade remaining attached to the hub. The two separated blade sections were recovered at the accident site.

High-tension power lines running generally north-south were located between the departure point and the accident site. Visual examination of the power lines and supporting towers, both from the ground and from the air, did not reveal any damage attributable to the helicopter. In addition, a lone tree located west of the accident site showed no evidence of being struck by the helicopter. NOTE: This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.