Preliminary report on Andalusia medical helicopter crash released
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on the medical helicopter crash in Andalusia in July.
The aircraft crashed on July 29 across from Dean’s Cake House on Snowden Drive, according to Covington County Sheriff Blake Turman. This is Packer Field, according to the city of Andalusia.
A flight nurse and medic were on board the helicopter with the pilot when the crash happened near the end of a flight from Evergreen to Andalusia, according to the NTSB report.
As the aircraft approached the hospital, the pilot told investigators he started feeling sweaty and clammy and remembered someone telling him to “pull up” three times. The report noted that the pilot did not feel lightheaded and did not experience vertigo before the crash. The next thing he remembered was being in an ambulance.
One of the crew members told investigators the pilot was flying too low to the ground to make a safe landing with the report stating:
“The flight paramedic stated in a postaccident interview that the helicopter was approaching the hospital helipad and descending; however, it seemed low as the helipad was still about 1 mile away. The flight nurse was seated behind the pilot, tapped him on the shoulder and said that they were too low. The pilot replied “yeah, yeah, yeah,” and initially leveled off, but then the nose began to pitch down into another descent. At that point the flight nurse made a mayday call, shook the pilot’s seat and told him to “pullup, pullup, pullup.” The helicopter subsequently nosed-up, made a left turn and impacted a field on its right side.”
The helicopter crashed in a field, taking out trees and several powerlines on its way down, according to the report. The pilot and one crew member were seriously injured. A second crew member sustained minor injuries.
A cockpit voice recorder was recovered from the wreckage and forwarded to the National Transportations Safety Board Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for download.
The NTSB has not announced a date for when its final report will be released.
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