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.

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