Pilot Blamed For Fatal Talihina Helicopter Crash

Saturday, September 26th 2015, 12:20 am
By: Richard Clark

The National Transportation Safety Board blames the pilot for the crash of a medical helicopter at the hospital in Talihina that killed a patient.

The crash happened on June 11, 2013, killing 49-year-old Michael Wilson of Bethel. A flight nurse received critical injuries, while a flight paramedic and the pilot escaped serious injury.

In its Probable Cause Report on the crash, the NTSB listed the cause as follows: "The helicopter pilot's failure to see and avoid the 40-ft-tall lamp post during takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's inadequate preflight evaluation of the obstructions in the takeoff path." 

Read the NTSB's Probable Cause Report on the crash.

According to the NTSB, when the Eurocopter AS350B2 operated by EagleMed arrived at Choctaw Indian Hospital that afternoon to pick up a patient to take to St. Francis in Tulsa, another medical helicopter was already in the hospital's single-space helipad.

The EagleMed pilot landed the Eurocopter on a road nearby, the NTSB said. When it lifted off at 6:30 that evening, according to the NTSB, the left side of its main rotor struck a light pole about 175 feet from where it had taken off. The helicopter was heading west when the accident happened.

6/20/2013: Related Story: NTSB: Medical Helicopter Hit Light Pole Before Deadly Talihina Crash

The impact caused the helicopter to go out of control and crash, ending up on its right side, according to the report.

In a previous report the NTSB said the 32-year-old pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for rotorcraft - helicopter, and instrument helicopter. He had an estimated total pilot experience in helicopters of about 3,560 hours, with a total of about 88 hours in AS-350 helicopters, the NTSB said.

6/11/2013: Related Story: 1 Dead, 3 Injured In Medical Helicopter Crash In Talihina