A medical helicopter was flying at least 100 feet lower than the companys standard procedure before it hit a radio tower and crashed in suburban Chicago, killing a toddler and three others onboard in October, according to a federal report.
The factual report from the National Transportation Safety Board does not discuss a probable cause for the accident, which is expected to come in a final report later this year.
The NTSB's report said nothing seemed amiss with 69-year-old pilot, Del Waugh, of Carmel, Ind., who spoke to an air-traffic controller minutes before the helicopter clipped a tower guy wire, crashed into a field and burst into flames around midnight Oct. 15, 2008.
Waugh told the controller his altitude over Aurora was about 1,400 feet above sea level, according to the report.
Three minutes later as the Air Angels helicopter hit the tower, the top of which is about 1,450 feet above sea level, a voice could be heard over the radio making an unintelligible sound, which the report said sounded similar to, ahhhhhhhh.
There were no further contacts with the aircraft, the report adds.
According to the highly technical report, Air Angels usual procedure for the same route is for helicopters to fly at an altitude of between 1,500 feet and 1,700 feet at night.
A message seeking comment was left with an Air Angels spokesman.
The report confirms earlier NTSB findings that there appeared to be no mechanical failures on the Bell 222 helicopter, that the radio towers lights were flashing before the crash and that there were no severe weather conditions.
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