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HeliTorque :: View topic - Sacremento County Sheriffs EC120 Crash
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Flight Safety

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Sacremento County Sheriffs EC120 Crash
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 9:19 pm    Post subject: Sacremento County Sheriffs EC120 Crash Reply with quote

On July 13, 2005, shortly after 7 P.M., Sacramento County (CA) Sheriff's Deputies Joseph Kievernagel and Kevin Blount were killed when their helicopter crashed near Lake Natoma. A third deputy, Eric Hendrickson, who was training to be a tactical flight officer, was critically injured.

The pilot, Deputy Kievernagel, was 36-years-old and had been with the SCSD for 19-years. The tactical flight officer, Deputy Blount, was 29-years-old and had been a SCSD deputy for 7-years. Both deputies were members of the Airborne Law Enforcement Association.

The helicopter, an American Eurocopter EC120, made a forced landing near the Nimbus Dam, impacted the ground hard, rolled several times down a steep hillside and started a brush fire. Deputy Blount was pronounced dead at the scene. Deputy Kievernagel was transported to Sutter Medical Center in Roseville, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Deputy Hendrickson was flown by medivac helicopter to Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael, where he is on life support in critical condition.

Sheriff Lou Blanas praised the fallen deputies, "Without a doubt, this is the worst day in the history of the Sacramento Sheriff's Department. These are our heroes in the sky. These officers keep our community safe. This helicopter program has been around here since 1976. You can't say enough about the job they do - not only keeping the community safe, but keeping our officers safe on the ground. They do an outstanding job."

The accident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NTSB: Engine Failure Brought Down Helicopter
2 Deputies Killed, 1 Injured In Wednesday's Crash

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The National Transportation Safety Board announced Friday afternoon that catastrophic internal engine failure caused the crash of a Sacramento County Sheriff's Department helicopter.

The helicopter -- a Eurocopter EC 120 -- went down Wednesday night on a hillside near Lake Natoma.

NTSB officials said the helicopter engine's internal turbine blades disintegrated in flight.

"It broke. It simply broke," said NTSB investigator George Petterson.

Petterson also said that pockmarks found in the back of the helicopter were telling.

"That means that the engine is emitting some sharp metal objects. And as they hit the wall of the tailpipe, they're going to leave a pockmark," Petterson said.

The pockmarks coupled with soot scars left by the red hot metal hitting the tailipe was clear evidence of mechanical error, according to Petterson.

Undersheriff John McGuinness reacted to Friday's finding that no human error is suspected in the crash at this point.

"We do have some satisfaction knowing it was not pilot error," McGuinness said. "And for our mechanics who service the aircrafts on a regular basis, I think there's some relief on their part."

The sheriff's department has grounded its other EC 120 helicopters until more information about the crash is available.

"We don't want to run the risk of putting an aircraft back in the sky that perhaps is not worthy of that," McGuinness said.

NTSB officials are still investigating what caused the engine to disintegrate.

Officials said the helicopter's flight data recorder was recovered and is being sent to Europe, where the aircraft was made, for examination.
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