On March 18, 2014, a Eurocopter AS350 B2 crashed to the ground in, what news reports described as a "fireball." Two people onboard the helicopter, which was being used to capture news footage, were killed and one was seriously injured. In a report released last Wednesday, the NTSB determined the crash was caused by a loss of hydraulic boost. But the causes to the loss of hydraulic boost remain a mystery.
"The loss of helicopter control due to a loss of hydraulic boost to the tail rotor pedal controls at takeoff, followed by a loss of hydraulic boost to the main rotor controls after takeoff," stated the NTSB report as the most probably cause of the crash. "The reason for the loss of hydraulic boost to the main and tail rotor controls could not be determined because of fire damage to hydraulic system components and the lack of a flight recording device."
Prior to the crash, the rotorcraft was repositioning itself after a rooftop refueling session. According to the report, it then began lift off the helipad and yaw. After completing a full-circle rotation while climbing, it nose-dived to the street below while spinning. These actions are indicative of the loss of tail rotor control and main rotor control.
The AS350 B2 — tail number N250FB — was operated by Helicopters, Inc., based in Memphis, Tennessee, and was recording footage for Seattle’s ABC affiliate, KOMO News.