A CareFlight medical helicopter pilot checked but was unable to locate power lines near an emergency landing zone at a Butler County vehicle crash scene, causing the chopper to make a hard landing last month.
A preliminary investigation was released by the National Transportation Safety Board Tuesday, revealing the department’s findings in the medical helicopter crash in Milford Twp., Butler County July 26. Investigators ruled the helicopter hit high-voltage power lines, causing the helicopter to fall around 50 feet to the ground, NTSB investigators said in the report.
The three people on board the helicopter all suffered minor injuries in the crash.
The CareFlight helicopter was called to a serious two-vehicle crash on U.S. 127 north of Hamilton around 4 a.m. July 26. While the helicopter was on the way to the scene, firefighters informed the pilot of power lines near the area designated for the helicopter to land.
“About 9 miles out from the scene, (the CareFlight pilot) contacted the scene fire department, stated he was a few minutes out and asked for site information. The fire department reported that there were high voltage power lines on the south side of the landing zone,” NTSB investigators outlined in the report.
While trying to land at the scene, the pilot told investigators he found the tower but was unable to locate the power lines to avoid them.
“The pilot stated he did not think the wires would be in and around the landing zone. He stated that he was wearing night vison goggles and could see the tower but not the wires,” NTSB investigators said in the report.
“The pilot used the landing light and moved it up and down to try and find the wires but could not locate them. He thought the wires were further out from the landing zone and not below the helicopter,” the report states.
The main rotor blades hit the wires which caused the helicopter to fall around 50 feet to the ground.
The final report of the crash is still pending and will be released at the completion of the investigation.
Marsha Cottongim, 69 of Richmond, Indiana was killed in the original vehicle crash that prompted the CareFlight response. Three other people were hurt in the original vehicle crash, including a 43-year-old woman who suffered serious injuries. Additional details on the vehicle crash investigation were not released.
Additional details were not released.