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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 246948
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Time:11:18 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic B430 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Bell 430
Owner/operator:National Airways Corporation opf Netcare 911
Registration: ZT-RRT
MSN: 49126
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:between Ladysmith and Colenso, KwaZulu-Natal -   South Africa
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Midrand-Ultimate Heli heliport
Destination airport:Pietermaritzburg-Hillcrest Hospital heliport
Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Netcare 911 Bell 430 ambulance helicopter "Netcare 1" crashed in open fields between Ladysmith and Colenso, KwaZulu-Natal. The tail rotor and boom assembly had separated from the helicopter just behind the main fuselage, the cause of which is yet to be established. All five occupants (pilot and four medical personnel) died and the helicopter was destroyed by a post-crash fire. The helicopter was carrying 12 medical oxygen bottles, each weighing 6.86kg. One ruptured in the accident.

SACAA says the aircraft was in the cruise at 134 knots 700 ft AGL. Several witnesses saw the helicopter suddenly starting to "spin around whilst losing height rapidly. The witnesses then saw what looked like helicopter parts breaking off before it crashed and burst into flames".

The tail rotor assembly had broken off the tail boom and was located 79.3m from the main wreckage. The green main rotor blade, which is located directly opposite the orange main rotor blade, had also broken off and was found 148m from the main wreckage.

AD issued by TCCA on 26 July 2021. The AD states the main rotor pitch link clevis part number (P/N) 430-010-432-101 fractured at the exposed thread area above the nut and the fracture was consistent with fatigue damage.

Probable Causes:
The clevis on the pitch control lever of the Orange blade failed in-flight, resulting in the instability of the main rotor disc which, in turn, severed the most rear section of the tail boom.
As a result, the main rotor blades subsequently failed. The combination of the severed most rear section of the tail boom and the main rotor failure resulted in the pilot losing control of the helicopter and, thus, the subsequent crash.
Corrosion fatigue/metal fatigue, mechanical failure and improper maintenance.

Contributory Factors:
Failure to identify the fatigue crack on the clevis threaded section during a magnetic particle inspection as well as during the MPI.


See also D2-EYI (photo, before Netcare markings were applied)

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year 1 month
Download report: Final report


Revision history:

21-Jan-2021 14:17 gerard57 Added
21-Jan-2021 14:48 RobertMB Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Location, Source, Narrative]
21-Jan-2021 15:02 Aerossurance Updated [Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
21-Jan-2021 16:34 harro Updated [Embed code]
21-Jan-2021 20:49 Anon. Updated [Operator, Destination airport, Narrative]
21-Jan-2021 20:51 harro Updated [Operator, Source]
22-Jan-2021 08:16 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code]
22-Jan-2021 08:16 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
22-Jan-2021 08:17 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
22-Jan-2021 10:15 RobertMB Updated [Operator, Embed code, Narrative]
22-Jan-2021 16:07 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
22-Jan-2021 23:19 RobertMB Updated [Narrative]
22-Jan-2021 23:53 Captain Adam Updated [Operator]
23-Jan-2021 19:05 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
03-Feb-2021 16:24 Topaz Updated [Narrative]
23-Feb-2021 09:26 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
23-Feb-2021 19:17 Aerossurance Updated [Source]
23-Feb-2021 19:49 harro Updated [[Source]]
27-Jul-2021 10:12 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
27-Jul-2021 10:47 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
27-Jul-2021 10:47 Aerossurance Updated [[Source, Embed code, Narrative]]
01-Mar-2022 07:38 harro Updated [Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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