Crash: the surveillance video of UNMH rooftop helicopter accident
Surveillance video of UNMH rooftop helicopter crash
On April 9, 2014, about 1745 mountain daylight time, an Airbus (Eurocopter) AS 350 B3 helicopter, N395P, impacted the hospital roof top following departure from the UNM hospital helipad, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The helicopter was registered to and operated by PHI, Inc. Lafayette, Louisiana, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot and two paramedics received only minor injuries and the helicopter was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a company flight plan was filed for the local repositioning flight that was originating at the time of the accident.
The pilot reported that he had completed all pre-takeoff hydraulic checks and that after liftoff, he commanded a slight left turn. However, the helicopter kept turning and entered a spin. The pilot added that the pedals were jammed or locked, in the neutral position. Video from a security camera mounted on the hospital helipad revealed that the helicopter began to yaw in a counterclockwise direction as it lifted off the helipad. The helicopter completed several rotations before it impacted the roof top, and came to rest adjacent the helipad. A small post-crash fire started, but was extinguished shortly after the helipad’s fire suppression system activated.
Examination of the accident site revealed that the helicopter came to rest on its right side. Several cuts/scars on the roof were consistent with impact from the main rotor blades or skids were observed. Continuity of the drive unit was confirmed throughout the tail rotor system; all major structural components of the helicopter were accounted for on scene.