2006 Eagle III accident
Template:Crash infobox The 2006 Eagle III accident occurred at GRBC Rescue Heliport in Green Bay, Wisconsin on April 13, 2006, during a post-maintenance flight of a MBB Bo 105 air ambulance helicopter operated by Eagle III. This crash claimed the life of James Vincent Jr, the sole occupant and an experienced pilot flying with Eagle III since 2004. This was the first accident for County Rescue's air ambulance service, which took delivery of its first helicopter in May 1998, and was also believed to be the first among the 12 or so air ambulance services operating in the state of Wisconsin. As of June 2007, the cause of the crash is still under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board, but is believed to be caused by a mechanical failure of the tail rotor.
The primary mission for the accident aircraft, N202LF, was as a backup helicopter for emergency air ambulance use, operated by County Rescue Services of Green Bay, Wisconsin, in partnership with Bellin Hospital, and St. Vincent Hospital. The Eagle III rescue helicopter service performd an average of 400 transports a year with their two helicopters. This aircraft's role included accident scene flights and transport of critically ill or injured patients to facilities with specialized or greater levels of care. The aircraft also provided standby air ambulance capabilities to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin during various auto racing events. N202LF was a 1987 Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm BO 105LS A-3 that was converted into an emergency medical service helicopter. It was owned by a Utah bank and leased by County Rescue. The helicopter's airframe had logged about 4,800 hours, and was last inspected on March 22.
Details of crash
The accident aircraft lifted off from County Rescue Services helipad at approximately 10:30 am local time on April 13th, 2006, for a routine maintenance flight under visual meteorological conditions. Shortly after take off, Pilot James Vincent Jr., 46, of Menominee, Michigan, radioed County Rescue Services Headquarters with a distress call indicating he was having a problem. The helicopter's sound was abnormal, which caused witnesses to take notice, including a few dozen children and their caretakers at the Bellevue Children's World Learning Center across the street.
It was observed by several witnesses spinning out of control, and then flying into the wind, and away from County Rescue Services Allouez Avenue Headquarters, and Eagle III's hanger. It is not known if Pilot James Vincent Jr intentionally flew the aircraft away from the buildings, which were both occupied, but George Miller, director of flight operations at EAGLE III believes he did. Witness state that the helicopter, now being flown to the southeast and approximately 200ft off the ground, became quieter, and then fell from the sky approximately 200 yards (180 meters) from the helipad it took off from.
The pilot stumbled out of the wreckage, and fell to the ground about 20 feet (6 meters) away. Rescue personnel who worked closely with the victim were on scene within seconds of the crash. They transported the pilot to St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay using one of the Mobile Intensive Care Ambulances they had based at their Headquarters, less than 100 yards (90 meters) away from the Crash Site. The pilot was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after arriving there.
The autopsy on the pilot did not show any medical condition or illness involved in the accident. The pilot "died of trauma sustained in the crash," Brown County Interim Medical Examiner Al Klimek said.
The Brown County Sheriff’s Department and Bellevue Fire Department also responded to the scene and arrived within minutes of the crash. The City of Green Bay Police Department also provided assistance by securing safe and expedited travel for the ambulance through the crowded streets of the City of Green Bay.
Approximately 400 law enforcement, firefighting and paramedical personnel attended services for the pilot a week after his death. One year later, a memorial fund had collected and turned over US$19,800 to the pilot's family.
- ↑ NTSB Preliminary Report: CHI06FA110. National Transportation Safety Board (2006-04-19). Retrieved on 2007-06-16. “On April 13, 2006, at 1022 central daylight time, a Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm BO 105LS A-3, N202LF, operated by County Rescue Services, Inc., as an emergency medical service helicopter, received substantial damage on impact with terrain following a reported loss of directional control during takeoff from the operator's heliport, GRBC Rescue Heliport, Green Bay, Wisconsin.”
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Nelesen, Andy, Andy Behrendt. "Investigation begins in fatal helicopter crash", Green Bay Press-Gazette, 2006-04-14. grb20173995. Retrieved on 2007-06-16. “'Jim Vincent, when he had this problem, was near our building, and there were other people on the ground, and he did everything he could to get the aircraft away from the building and crash it where it crashed so that he wouldn't hurt anybody,' Miller said.”
- ↑ "Area pilots stunned by crash - Green Bay, Wisconsin", Post-Crescent, 2007-04-14. app19911629. Retrieved on 2007-06-17. “Ann Younger Crandall, manager of the ThedaStar Air Medical program...said she is not aware of any other air medical crashes recorded in Wisconsin, a state served by about a dozen air medical service operators.”
- ↑ "Vincent brought experience, generosity to job", Green Bay Press-Gazette, 2007-04-14. grb20174168. Retrieved on 2007-06-16. “A suspected mechanical malfunction put the aircraft into a spin, causing it to crash into a nearby field.”
- ↑ Zimmerman, Jason. "Hospitals Need Eagle III", WBAY-TV WorldNow, 2006-04-14. Retrieved on 2007-06-17. “The Eagle III rescue helicopter service performs an average of 400 transports a year.”
- ↑ "Pilot's memory lives on 1 year after fatal crash", Green Bay Press-Gazette, 2007-04-13. grb37007148. Retrieved on 2007-06-16. “It was a check flight to evaluate some routine maintenance work. Shortly after liftoff, Vincent radioed that he had a problem.”
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Allen, Jason. "Witnesses Describe Helicopter Crash", WBAY-TV WorldNow, 2006-04-14. “...they hear Eagle III taking off and landing all the time, but Thursday morning the sound was different -- different enough that it brought them out of their homes and businesses to look.”
- ↑ WBAY.com, Chris Duffy. "Rescue Helicopter Pilot Dies in Crash", WBAY-TV WorldNow, 2006-04-14. “.The helicopter crashed in a field...200 yards from the helipad where it took off.”
- ↑ Associated Press. "Autopsy: Helicopter crash that killed pilot had no medical cause", WLNS-TV WorldNow, 2006. “An autopsy has revealed that a Michigan man whose helicopter crashed in Wisconsin had no medical condition or illness that played a part in the accident.”
- ↑ "No medical factor found in copter crash", Green Bay Press-Gazette, 2006-04-16. grb20168393. Retrieved on 2007-06-16. “An autopsy on the pilot of a helicopter that crashed Thursday in Bellevue confirmed investigators' belief that no medical condition or illness played a part in the crash that killed him, Brown County Interim Medical Examiner Al Klimek said Saturday.”
- ↑ Thomsen, Sarah. "Eagle III Rescue Flights Continue", WBAY-TV WorldNow, 2006-04-14. “In a matter of minutes, officers blocked off all streets between County Rescue Services and St. Vincent Hospital, clearing the way for the ambulance.”
- ↑ "Pilot Vincent 'missed, but never forgotten'", Green Bay Press-Gazette, 2006-04-21. grb20250550. Retrieved on 2007-06-16. “About 400 law enforcers, firefighters and paramedics gathered Thursday to honor James Vincent Jr.”
- ↑ "Memorial fund raised $19,800 for family of helicopter pilot", Green Bay Press-Gazette, 2007-04-13. grb37007362. Retrieved on 2007-06-16. “A memorial fund established after Jim Vincent died at the controls of an EAGLE III helicopter gathered nearly $20,000 to help the Michigan man's family in the wake of his death.”
- Remembering Jim Eagle III accident memorial page with photos
- Green Bay Press-Gazette accident photo gallery
- EAGLE III Pilot killed during test flight in backup Bo-105 at Alec Bucks EMS Helicopters
- Eagle III helicopter crash news summary
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