Goose found in helicopter flight control servos in fatal Oklahoma crash

Investigators say they found a goose embedded in the flight control servos of an air medical helicopter in a fatal crash near Hydro, Oklahoma, that killed three people.

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated that investigators also found the carcasses of more geese in the debris of the Bell 206L-3 helicopter operated by Air Evac EMS.

The pilot, flight paramedic and flight paramedic involved in the incident were all seriously injured.

Investigators said the helicopter dropped off a patient at the Mercy Health Center heliport in Oklahoma City shortly before midnight on Jan. 20, 2024, before returning to its base in Weatherford, about 63 miles away.

Investigators said search and rescue teams found the wreckage of the helicopter in an open pasture about 1.5 miles east of the town of Hydro, Oklahoma, after the company’s GPS monitoring program stopped tracking the helicopter around 11:30 p.m. local time.

All major components of the helicopter were located at the accident site. The main wreckage includes the fuselage, engine and tail rotor. Investigators said the gearbox was separated from the fuselage and was also located at the crash site.

Investigators said the white main rotor blade was broken and was found in an adjacent area. The red main rotor blade was also broken and was found near the main rotor hub. The mast nut has detached and is located in the debris field.

Investigators said a review of the Air Force’s Bird Hazard Advisory System found the likelihood of bird activity near the incident was “low.”

According to preliminary investigative reports, the helicopter was flying in accordance with the company’s visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan and in clear conditions.

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