COFFEE CO., AL (WSFA) - Federal investigators have released a new report that says fog, mist and low visibility led to a Haynes helicopter crash in Coffee County last month.
According to the report, the flight crew in the helicopter responded to a single-vehicle accident on County Road 606 near the Goodman community prior to the crash.
The report states that according to Haynes Life Flight, the on-board Skyconnect satellite tracking system provided position updates for the helicopter every three minutes. Additionally, the pilot was supposed to contact them every 15 minutes via radio.
After the helicopter departed on the accident flight, Haynes Life Flight did not receive the pilot's normal 15-minute check-in, and when they checked the satellite tracking system, it showed that the helicopter was still at the LZ, though they knew it had lifted off. Haynes Life Flight then began to notify authorities that the helicopter was missing.
Authorities located the wreckage around 7 a.m. that same day in a wooded area about 1/2 mile north of where it departed.
Investigators say the helicopter managed to rise to 1,100 feet after takeoff before it began rapidly descending. According to the report, the helicopter descended through 600 feet in a matter of five seconds.
Those killed in the crash were the pilot, Chad Hammond, flight nurse Stacey Cernadas, medic Jason Snipes, and a patient, Zach Strickland.