Tool Bag Takes Out Tail Rotor: Fatal AS350B2 Accident, Tweed, ON

Tool Bag Takes Out Tail Rotor: Fatal AS350B2 Accident, Tweed, ON

Wreckage of Hydro One Networks Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 C-GOHS  need Tweed, ON on 14 December 2017 (Credit: TSB Canada)

Wreckage of Hydro One Networks Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 C-GOHS need Tweed, ON on 14 December 2017 (Credit: TSB Canada)

Four died when a tool bag came loose and struck the tail rotor of a helicopter carrying workers of an electricity utility company.  The accident involved Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 C-GOHS operated by Ontario’s Hydro One Networks need Tweed, ON on 14 December 2017.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) say in an initial report on 21 December 2017 that a single pilot and three Hydro One linesmen were on board, supporting maintenance on high-power electricity transmission lines:

As part of the work being conducted, a few bags used for carrying tools and supplies were carried externally on a platform extending out of the right side of the fuselage. These bags, when carried externally, are normally attached with double-lock carabiners.

Shortly before the accident, the pilot picked up the 3 linemen at the base of a tower and was transporting them to a nearby staging area.  While nearing the staging area, one of the bags that was being carried externally blew off the platform and, along with its attached carabiner, struck the tail rotor.

Tool Bag from Hydro One Networks Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 C-GOHS  need Tweed, ON on 14 December 2017 (Credit: TSB Canada)

Tool Bag from Hydro One Networks Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 C-GOHS need Tweed, ON on 14 December 2017 (Credit: TSB Canada)

Tail Rotor Hydro One Networks Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 C-GOHS  need Tweed, ON on 14 December 2017 (Credit: TSB Canada)

Tail Rotor Hydro One Networks Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 C-GOHS need Tweed, ON on 14 December 2017 (Credit: TSB Canada)

Tail Rotor of Hydro One Networks Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 C-GOHS  need Tweed, ON on 14 December 2017 (Credit: TSB Canada)

Tail Rotor of Hydro One Networks Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 C-GOHS need Tweed, ON on 14 December 2017 (Credit: TSB Canada)

Shortly thereafter, while the pilot was attempting to land, the helicopter departed from controlled flight, all 3 passengers became separated from the helicopter while it was still airborne. The helicopter subsequently crashed nearby.

Debris of Hydro One Networks Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 C-GOHS  need Tweed, ON on 14 December 2017 (Credit: TSB Canada)

Debris of Hydro One Networks Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 C-GOHS need Tweed, ON on 14 December 2017 (Credit: TSB Canada)

We have found a heavily damaged white canvas bag, with a damaged carabiner attached, and the tip of a tail rotor blade over 600 meters away from the crash site.

Two of the three linesmen were not wearing seat belts.

Safety Advisory

TSB have issued a safety advisory:

Cargo must be adequately secured at all times, to prevent it from shifting or departing the helicopter during flight.

Passengers who do not wear seat belts risk serious injury or death in the event of an emergency.

Future Developments

We will follow developments in this accident as the TSB report on their ongoing investigation.

Wrecage of Hydro One Networks Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 C-GOHS  Recovered for Investigation (Credit: TSB Canada)

Wrecage of Hydro One Networks Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 C-GOHS Recovered for Investigation (Credit: TSB Canada)

Safety Resources

Previous Aerossurance articles include:

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