The Transportation Safety Board has found that a helicopter that crashed on Bowen Island last year went down because of environmental conditions and limitations of the helicopter’s system.
On May 5, 2021, the Bell 212 helicopter crashed while travelling from Sechelt to Cypress Provincial Park. During the cruise portion of the flight, the helicopter entered wind shear and there was a sudden loss of control.
“After the crew regained control of the helicopter, the number 2 engine experienced an uncommanded in-flight shutdown and the flight controls became very hard to manipulate. A location on nearby Bowen Island was selected for an emergency landing,” the TSB said in a news release.
As the helicopter descended, it began a rapid rotation to the right that the pilots could not stop. After several rotations, the helicopter struck trees and landed on a rocky ridge on the northwest corner of Bowen Island.
The two pilots on board sustained serious injuries but survived.
The TSB said both pilots were aware of the forecasted weather, low-level wind shear and mechanical turbulence, but decided to continue with the flight based on improving weather forecast later in the day, the desire to complete the operational flight, and the observation that other aircraft were operating around the Sechelt Aerodrome.
Airspan Helicopters, the company that operated the ill-fated flight, temporarily suspended all operations after the crash. The company completed an internal safety investigation and took several actions to mitigate future crashes.
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