Articles tagged: Bell 206 Helicopter

Jacksonville, Florida Medical Transport Helicopter Crash

Bell 206 Helicopter used in Organ Transplant procurement Crash Kills Doctor and 2 others on board

On December 26, 2011 a Bell 206 helicopter flying from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, to Shands, Florida crashed because of poor visibility and weather conditions, killing all on board.

The Bell 206 medical helicopter was on route to pick up a heart transplant at a Gainesville Hospital when the crashed occurred.  The crash killed Dr. Luis Bonilla, a heart surgeon, David Hines, an organ procurement technician, and Pilot E. Hoke Smith, of St. Augustine based SK Logistics Company.  The medical transport helicopter company operates as SK Jets and its fleet operates from the St. Augustine airport.

Due to weather conditions, the pilot of the Bell 206 helicopter became spatially disoriented causing him to strike a 50 foot pine tree and several other trees as it crashed in a wooded area about 12 miles northeast of the Palatka Municipal Airport.

Due to the crash, the heart was not able to be transported to Jacksonville and finding a new match for the heart would have taken longer than the four hour window between the harvest and the transplant operation.

The Pilot E. Hoke Smith was a decorated veteran of combat missions in Vietnam.  Mr. Smith routinely flew medical transport flights, primarily during holidays when he gave his employees time off from his company SK Logistics.

1 Dead After Missouri State Highway Patrol Helicopter Crash

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO — The pilot of a Missouri State Highway Patrol helicopter died in a crash in a residential subdivision in the Clarkson Valley area Friday morning.

Bell 206B JetRanger Wreckage

No one on the ground was injured. The pilot was Highway Patrol Sgt. Joe Schuengel, 47, a 17-year veteran of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The highway patrol’s headquarters in Jefferson City confirmed that the helicopter carried only Schuengel, who was killed on impact.

The helicopter was working traffic enforcement above Interstate 55 in Jefferson County that morning. Two other highway patrol troopers were in the helicopter for that duty, but Schuengel dropped them off and was returning to Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield when the helicopter crashed at about 11 a.m. The tower at Spirit airport lost the helicopter from radar, then called in a St. Louis County police helicopter to fly over the area and see what had happened

The helicopter crashed in the Kehrs Mill Trail subdivision along Horseshoe Ridge Road between Chesterfield and Ballwin. One observer and about a dozen neighbors ran over to crash site, which was strewn with glass and papers, he said. The wreckage was smoking and spilling fuel and oil. He said he saw the pilot, who wasn’t moving.

Several local workers who were also in the area and said they heard what seemed like a scraping noise and then a loud thud. When they got to the crash site, they found the helicopter’s rotor had detached from the flattened wreckage of the rest of the craft. The rotor ended up in somone’s yard, they said. According to the FAA, the Bell 206B JetRanger helicopter was manufactured in 1981. The helicopter was Troop C’s only helicopter.

Another Air Evac Lifeteam Helicopter Crash Kills Three in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Three medical evacuation helicopter crew members were killed early Tuesday when their helicopter crashed while enroute to a traffic crash to evacuate a victim in central Arkansas . A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman stated that the Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter crashed at approximately 4:00 a.m. near the community of Scotland in Van Buren County, Arkansas.  Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were on site at the crash site conducting the investigation. Apparently there were no distress calls from the helicopter. Scotland is about 80 miles north of Little Rock in central Arkansas.

Arkansas Air Evac Lifeteam Helicopter Crash Site

Air Evac Lifeteam Helicopter Crash Site in Arkansas

Pilot Kenneth Robertson, flight nurse Kenneth Meyer, Jr., and flight paramedic Gayla Gregory all were killed, according to an Air Evac spokesman. Van Buren County Coroner Dorothy Branscum said the victims were killed on impact. “I would say they might’ve seen it coming, but that was it. The helicopter was just melted and it was just in pieces,” according to Branscum.

Investigators said autopsies, which were to be performed by the state medical examiner’s office, would help determine whether a medical emergency among the crew could have caused the accident. It also was too early to say whether “a mechanical anomaly” caused the helicopter to break up in the air, or if the aircraft struck trees that caused parts to fall off as it went down, according to a National Transportation Safety Board investigator Tuesday evening.

“They were flying under VFR (visual flight rules),” the FAA spokesman stated. “It also doesn’t appear they were talking to any air traffic controllers at the time.” No patients were aboard the helicopter. The Bell 206 helicopter, built in 1978, was registered to Air Evac EMS Inc. which is based in West Plains, Missouri.

According to the Walnut Grove Fire Department, the department alarm went off just before 4 a.m. with firefighters on the scene about eight minutes later. They found burning wreckage and immediately began work to see if there were any survivors. The wreckage was scattered around the area with the main part of the helicopter in the woods next to a clearing near the Walnut Grove Church.

The crew was based in Vilonia, Arkansas. Air Evac operates Med Evac helicopter services in 13 states and has experienced several fatal helicopter crashes in recent years.  In March of 2010, three medi-vac helicopter crew members were killed in a helicopter crash in Tennessee. In 2008, an Air Evac helicopter crashed in an Indiana cornfield killing three people. In 2007, another three-member crew was killed when an Air Evac helicopter crashed in Colbert County, Alabama.

“This is a tragic day for us here at Air Evac Lifeteam,” the spokesman said. “These were members of our family and we are devastated at this loss. Our focus at this time is on providing support for the family and friends of these helicopter crew members.”

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:

Bell 206B Helicopter Crash in California Kills Four

NTSB Identification: WPR10GA097
14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 05, 2010 in Auberry, CA
Aircraft: BELL 206B, registration: N5016U
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

On January 5, 2010, at 1209 Pacific standard time, a Bell 206B, N5016U, collided with power lines near Auberry, California. The helicopter was registered to Palm Springs Aviation, Inc., and operated by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) as a public-use, deer surveying flight. The certificated commercial pilot and three passengers were killed. The helicopter was destroyed by post crash fire. The local flight departed Trimmer Heliport, Trimmer, California, at 1006. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site, and a company flight plan had been filed.

Helicopter Crash Details

At the time of the accident two witnesses, who were law enforcement officers for the United States Forest Service, were located on a north facing ridge at the confluence of Willow Creek and the San Joaquin River. Both officers observed the helicopter emerge from a valley to the north, and fly southbound along Willow Creek directly towards their location. The valley was spanned from the east to west by power transmission lines. The officers reported that the helicopter continued through the valley, in straight and level flight, on a trajectory towards the power lines. As the helicopter came within the immediate vicinity of the lines it, ‘reared back’ and then began an immediate descent, colliding with the ground. The officers reported that prior to the accident the helicopter was not emitting smoke, and did not appear to be in distress. The officers stated that the weather at the time of the accident was clear, with a few high scattered clouds, and light winds out of the north.

The main wreckage came to rest on the valley floor of Willow Creek, at an approximate elevation of 1,200 feet mean sea level (msl). The elevation of the valley peaks directly to the east and west of the site was about 2,500 feet msl. The bases of the power line towers were at an approximate elevation of 1,600 feet msl, and separated by a span of 2,900 feet. The lines consisted of three parallel power transmission lines, which hung between the towers about 3/4 of the distance from their bases. The tops of the towers were spanned by two parallel, ‘static’ ground lines. Examination of the static line to the south revealed that it had severed approximately midspan, and had become entangled in the remaining lines.

The main wreckage, which consisted of the cabin, tailboom, and tail rotor, came to rest inverted at an approximate elevation of 1,200 msl, 100 feet south of the power lines’ midspan point. The entire cabin area was fire consumed. The main transmission and mast were located about 300 feet north of the main wreckage. The main rotor assembly, consisting of the entire ‘red’ blade, hub, and inboard section of the ‘white’ blade, came to rest on the adjacent banks of Willow Creek, about 90 feet northwest of the main wreckage. A 4-foot-long outboard section of the white main rotor blade was located 1,100 feet south of the main rotor assembly.

Examination of the main rotor blades revealed leading edge gouges, with abrasion marks consistent in appearance with the severed static line. The helicopter was equipped with a wire strike protection system. Examination of the systems cutting surfaces revealed them to be sharp and free of scratches, gouges, and abrasions. All major sections of the helicopter were accounted for at the accident site.

This is the preliminary NTSB report for the Bell 206B Helicopter Crash in Auberry, California that killed four on January 05, 2010.