SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The National Transportation Safety Board has finished its investigation into a medical helicopter crash that killed a pilot and injured two others in 2015.

They found that copter design and pilot error both played a role in the deadly crash.

helicopter frisco crash NTSB: Pilot Error, Copter Design Led To Flight For Life Crash

(credit: Lake Dillon Fire)

Pilot Patrick Mahany died. Nurses Matt Bowe and Dave Repsher were both injured.

33 NTSB: Pilot Error, Copter Design Led To Flight For Life Crash

Patrick Mahany (credit: CBS)


Repsher barely survived, with burns over 90 percent of his body.

dave repsher matt bowe NTSB: Pilot Error, Copter Design Led To Flight For Life Crash

Dave Repsher, left, and Matt Bowe, right (credit: CBS)

The families have sued the manufacturer, Airbus Helicopters, saying the copter had a malfunction in its tail rotor.

The NTSB believes the pedals were misconfigured before the accident and the copter did not have an alert to let pilots know about the problem.

They also say the pilot did not perform a hover check, which would have let him know about the problems in controlling the helicopter.

Statement From The National Transportation Safety Board 

“The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is providing the following information to urge the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to take action on the safety recommendations in this report. These recommendations address the need for owners and operators of existing AS350 B3e helicopters and similarly designed variants to incorporate a crash-resistant fuel system into their rotorcraft. These recommendations are derived from two 2015 accidents in which the impact forces were survivable for occupants but fatal and serious injuries occurred because of post crash fires that resulted from an impact-related breach in the fuel tanks. As a result of these investigations, the NTSB is issuing three safety recommendations tithe FAA and one safety recommendation to EASA.”


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