Wisconsin Helicopter Crash Kills Four

Midwestern Aviation Helicopter Crashes Near Kenosha, Wi

On September 21, 2008 a Robinson R44 II helicopter owned by Midwestern Air Services LLC, was destroyed when it impacted an occupied house and terrain near Kenosha, Wisconsin. A ground fire subsequently occurred. The private pilot and a passenger were fatally injured. The five occupants in the house were uninjured. The flight originated from the Horseshoe Casino Heliport, near Whiting, Indiana, about 0430, and was destined for the Kenosha Regional Airport (ENW), near Kenosha, Wisconsin, when the accident occurred.

A Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper who was outside the weight facility on Interstate 94 at the Illinois and Wisconsin State Line about six miles south of the accident site heard a helicopter heading north at a “very low altitude” and estimated it at 500 feet. He did not see the helicopter or its lights due to the “dense fog.” He stated that the visibility there was about 300 to 500 feet.

Witnesses to Helicopter Crash

A witness who lived near the accident site gave a statement to the Kenosha Police Department. The witness stated that a low flying helicopter was heard. It circled once then went away and came back. The witness saw an orange flash through the window and heard a “boom.” The witness said the helicopter sounded “really low” and the “engine sounded like it was at low RPMs.”

A witness from the occupied house on the northwest corner of 97th Avenue and 70th Street that was impacted by the helicopter gave a statement to the police department. The statement, in part, indicated:

My family and I were fast asleep in our residence when I heard and
felt a loud bang like thunder, and then a cloud of debris came
[through] our bedroom door. My wife and I were in the southeast
bedroom. Our two sons were in the northeast bedroom and our
daughter was the bedroom over the garage. We got our kids and
[with] the help of our neighbors made it down the stairs and outside.
None of us were injured. I saw the flames across the street and one
of our neighbors told me a helicopter hit our house.

Robinson R44 Helicopter Wreckage Found

The main portion of the helicopter wreckage was found on a neighbor’s lawn across 97th Avenue. The helicopter was resting on its left side about 80 feet and about 106 degrees magnetic from the front of the impacted house. A debris path started at the rear of the second floor above the house’s central staircase where the helicopter had come through the roof. The debris path was observed down those central stairs and through the front of the house. The path continued across 97th Avenue and went up to the resting helicopter. The helicopter’s resting heading was about 180 degrees magnetic. The rear and lower portions of the helicopter cabin, inner portions of the fuel tanks, and the transmission between the fuel tanks were deformed and melted by fire. Sections of the main rotor blades remained attached to the rotor hub. The landing skids and crosstube were detached from the fuselage and were found in sections through out the debris path. The tail cone remained attached to the helicopter. The tail rotor gearbox separated from the tailcone. A circular area of lawn around the wreckage exhibited charring and blight. The hour meter read 318.6 hours.

An on-scene investigation was conducted. The engine was rotated by hand and it produced a thumb compression at all of its cylinders. The magnetos and fuel pumps sustained fire damage. The spark plugs were gray to brown in color and did not exhibit any anomalies. The fuel servo’s screen did not contain any debris. The engine’s oil screen did not contain any debris. Both fuel tanks were deformed by fire and contained a liquid with a blue hue. The tail rotor gearbox rotated by hand.
An NTSB investigation is continuing and a final report is not expected for months.

Contact a Helicopter Lawyer

If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a helicopter crash, then call us 24/7 for an immediate consultation to discuss the details of the accident and learn what we can do to help protect your legal rights. Whether the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the helicopter owner, hospital or corporation, the manufacturer or due to lack of training, poor maintenance, pilot or operator error, tail rotor failure, sudden loss of power, defective electronics or engine failure or flying in bad weather conditions, we can investigate the case and provide you the answers you need. Call Toll Free 1-800-883-9858 and talk to a Board Certified Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of legal experience or fill out our online form by clicking below: