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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 178376
Last updated: 20 October 2021
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Time:16:05 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic AS50 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Eurocopter AS 350B2 Ecureuil
Registration: D-HCOL
MSN: 2814
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location:S. Martinho das Amoreiras, Odemira -   Portugal
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Fire fighting
Departure airport:Ourique heliport
Destination airport:Ourique heliport
Investigating agency: GPIAAF Portugal
The AS 350 B2 Ecureuil helicopter, registration D-HCOL, departed for a forest fire fighting mission in the area of S. Martinho das Amoreiras, in the municipality of Odemira, Portugal.
After the water discharge the pilot, through his peripheral vision, realized the proximity of electrical cables below the helicopter and immediately carried out an evasive maneuver with a sharp nose up attitude.
This maneuver was not enough to prevent the clash of the bucket in the electrical cables. The pilot felt the impact and, through the rearview mirror, saw the bucket oscillating and rising toward the helicopter tail. The pilot instinctively actuated the bucket manual release but it ended up curling and got stuck in the antennas located in the helicopter tail.
A member of the heliborne brigade on the ground confirmed to the pilot that the bucket was curled and stuck in the helicopter tail. Given that the helicopter had positive maneuverability the pilot immediately landed about 300 meters ahead from the impact site.

Probable cause:
The main reason why this incident occurred was due to human factors. There is no evidence of any technical failure of the helicopter of its engine or systems prior of this incident.
In fact the pilot, after the first drop of water over the fire in that day, with the 5 fire men of his brigade in sight, he performed the go around procedures and when was starting the climb, realized that he was too close of the electrical cables. He reacted immediately, performing an evasive maneuver and releasing the bucket, but he was not able to prevent that the bottom of the suspend bucket, hit the electricity cables which he, through a poor air visibility and smoke, saw by the first time.
This interpretation of the facts coincides with the words of the pilot along the interview carried out by ex-GPIAA investigators in the firefighting base of operations in Odemira.
There was no evidence of any technical failure of the helicopter in this incident which was caused by the fact that the pilot did not see, in time that besides the electrical cables identified during his areal identification flight, there were other small cables bellow them, hidden, at that moment, by the poor visibility and by the smoke coming from the fire in activity at that moment.

Contributive factors
1 - One of the factors which more has contributed to this accident was the high atmospheric temperature existing in the moment of the incident, temperatures of around 40 C.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: GPIAAF Portugal
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 7 months
Download report: Final report
Safety recommendations:

Safety recommendation 29/2017 issued by GPIAAF to ANAC

Revision history:

07-Aug-2015 09:56 Aerossurance Added
30-Jul-2016 16:38 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type, Narrative]
27-Feb-2018 18:01 harro Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description