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N902LC accident description

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Crash location 36.931945°N, 93.280278°W
Nearest city Highlandville, MO
36.932834°N, 93.280463°W
0.1 miles away
Tail number N902LC
Accident date 26 Nov 2014
Aircraft type Md Helicopter Inc Md 900
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On November 26, 2014, about 2321 central standard time, a McDonnell Douglas model 900 helicopter, N902LC, was substantially damage when the main rotor blades struck a power line during landing near Highlandville, Missouri. The pilot was executing an off-airport landing to a field in order to pick-up a patient at the time of the accident. The pilot sustained minor injuries; the two medical crew members were not injured. The helicopter was registered to the Lester E Cox Medical Centers and operated by Air Methods Corporation under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an air medical flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was operated on a company visual flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from the Cox Medical Center facility in Springfield, Missouri, about 2310.

The pilot reported that he had completed two orbits of the accident scene and selected a large nearby field as the landing site. Using the helicopter search and landing lights, the pilot identified a pole at the southeast corner of the field with wires running toward the north. However, about 20 feet above ground level, he identified a second set of power lines paralleling the helicopter's flight path. He observed those power lines in his peripheral vision from under the night vision goggles. He attempted to move the helicopter to the left to avoid them, but the main rotor blades inadvertently struck one of the lines. The pilot maintained control and landed safely.

A postaccident examination revealed substantial damage to three of the main rotor blades. The remaining two rotor blades sustained minor damage. Debris from the power line struck and broke the pilot's door window. The pilot did not report any failures or malfunctions with the helicopter before impacting the power lines.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inability to identify the power line during the initial approach in night visual meteorological conditions and his subsequent failure to avoid the power line once he identified it on final approach.

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