Investigators so far have not found evidence of any structural or mechanical failure or pre-impact fire that would explain why a medical helicopter crashed Friday night in South Carolina, killing the pilot, nurse and medic on board.
Investigators probe deadly medical helicopter crash
The single-engine Eurocopter, operated by Addison, Texas-based Omniflight, went down near Georgetown, S.C., about 11:30 p.m. The crew was headed back to their base in Conway, S.C., after dropping a patient at Medical University Hospital, Charleston, but called back to headquarters to say they were diverting to an airport in Georgetown because of bad weather, said Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.
The wreckage indicated the rotors were powered and rotating when the helicopter hit the ground, nose first and upside down, and the main rotor buried itself 2 feet into the dirt, Knudson said. There was no evidence that the engine or flight controls failed. Investigators are seeking anyone who heard or saw the crash, which happened near a logging road about a quarter mile from Highway 17, south of Georgetown County Airport.
Responding to a sharp rise fatalities caused by crashes involving medical helicopters, the NTSB on Sept. 1 issued 19 safety recommendations. (For more on other incidents, please see Flying in the face of danger.)
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