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NTSB Final Report: Eldorado, Illinois

Location:

Eldorado, Illinois

Accident Number:

CEN22LA122

Date & Time:

February 11, 2022, 23:12 Local

Registration:

N469AE

Aircraft:

Bell 206

Aircraft Damage:

Minor

Defining Event:

Fire/smoke (non-impact)

Injuries:

1 Serious, 3 None

Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air taxi & commuter - Non-scheduled - Air Medical (Unspecified)

Analysis

The pilot reported that the helicopter was about to take off with a flight nurse, paramedic, and a patient onboard when she noticed a flash and flame reflection on the front left windscreen immediately followed by screams and the cabin filling with smoke. The pilot immediately reduced the throttle, pulled the fuel shutoff valve, and applied full rotor brake. The paramedic on board’s flight suit was on fire. The flight nurse on board managed to open the helicopter’s right-side door, unbuckle the paramedic, and pull her from the helicopter. The flight nurse extinguished the flames, called for additional help, and began cutting away the burned flight jacket and flight suit from the paramedic. In the paramedic’s left chest flight suit pocket were keys and a burnt lithium battery. The nurse reported that when she went to remove the battery to prevent further injury to the paramedic, the battery was extremely hot and smoking, and burned her hand. She threw the battery to the ground and continued to render care to the paramedic. Later two burnt lithium batteries lying on the ground next to the helicopter’s left skid were recovered. The pilot reported no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. The operator’s parent company issued a safety alert to all of its air and ground ambulance companies warning of the dangers of improperly carrying or storing loose lithium and lithium-ion batteries used in personal electronic devices.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

Overheating of two lithium batteries in the paramedic’s flight suit pocket resulting in an explosion and fire that seriously injured the paramedic as the helicopter was about to take off.

Findings

Personnel issues                            (general) - Cabin crew

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff                                         Fire/smoke (non-impact) (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Commercial                                        Age:

58

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine land                               Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

Helicopter                                                          Restraint Used:

4-point

Instrument Rating(s):

None                                                          Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None                                                          Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

Class 2 With waivers/limitations         Last FAA Medical Exam:

March 24, 2021

Occupational Pilot:

Yes                                                     Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

2710 hours (Total, all aircraft), 692 hours (Total, this make and model)

 

Other flight crew Information

Certificate:

None

Age:

 

Airplane Rating(s):

None

Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

 

Instrument Rating(s):

None

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

 

Last FAA Medical Exam:

 

Occupational Pilot:

 

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

Other flight crew Information

Certificate:

None

Age:

 

Airplane Rating(s):

None

Seat Occupied:

Left

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

 

Instrument Rating(s):

None

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

 

Medical Certification:

 

Last FAA Medical Exam:

 

Occupational Pilot:

 

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

Bell

Registration:

N469AE

Model/Series:

206 L4

Aircraft Category:

Helicopter

Year of Manufacture:

2016

Amateur Built:

 

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

52480

Landing Gear Type:

Skid

Seats:

 

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

February 10, 2022 100 hour

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

 

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

Turbo shaft

Airframe Total Time:

3363.6 Hrs at time of accident

Engine Manufacturer:

Rolls Royce

ELT:

Installed

Engine Model/Series:

250-C30P

Registered Owner:

 

Rated Power:

650 Horsepower

Operator:

 

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

On-demand air taxi (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual (VMC)

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

KHSB,396 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

5 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

23:15 Local

Direction from Accident Site:

266°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Scattered / 1900 ft AGL

Visibility

10 miles

Lowest Ceiling:

Broken / 3500 ft AGL

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

14 knots / 20 knots

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

340°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

30.07 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

5°C / 0°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

 

Departure Point:

El Dorado, IL

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

Company VFR

Destination:

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

23:12 Local

Type of Airspace:

Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Serious, 2 None

Aircraft Damage:

Minor

Passenger Injuries:

1 None

Aircraft Fire:

On-ground

Ground Injuries:

 

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

1 Serious, 3 None

Latitude, Longitude:

37.817509,-88.441959

Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Bowling, David

 

Additional Participating Persons:

Roby Sisk; Federal Aviation Administration; St. Ann, MO Tony Bonham; Air Evac LifeTeam; O'Fallon, MO

 

Original Publish Date:

June 14, 2022                                                                   Investigation Class:

4

Note:

The NTSB did not travel to the scene of this accident.

 

Investigation Docket:

https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket?ProjectID=104650

 

 

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