Rotorcraft Report: NTSB Calls D.C. EMS Crash CFIT, Cites Missed Instruments

By Staff Writer | February 1, 2008
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The U.S. NTSB has concluded a Eurocopter EC135 P2 air ambulance crashed into the Potomac River near Washington nearly three years ago because its pilot failed to monitor instruments.

The safety board issued a "probable cause" that the Life Evac 2 flight crashed at 2311 local on Jan. 10, 2005 because of the pilot’s "failure to identify and arrest the helicopter’s descent, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain." Contributing to the crash were dark night conditions, limited outside references, and lack of a working radar altimeter on the aircraft. The crash of the positioning flight killed the pilot and flight paramedic and seriously injured the flight nurse on board. The board dismissed early speculation the aircraft had struck a construction crane on the river, saying radar and GPS indicated the EC135 didn’t come within 300 ft laterally of a crane.


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