The report points in particular to a ‘pilot error’ which led to the accident in which the flight engineer lost his life. The accident took place on 12 September 2021 when the crew of the Civil Security helicopter Dragon 38 left base for its fifth operation of the day to rescue a mountain biker who had suffered a traumatic brain injury Villard-de-Lans (Isère).
More than a year after the tragedy, the Accident Investigation Bureau for State Aeronautical Safety (BEA-E) has issued its conclusions. This safety investigation, the objective of which is ‘the prevention of accidents and incidents without determining fault or responsibility’, concludes that it was ‘pilot error’ which led to the crash.
The report noted pilot fatigue following a busy day of rescues, along with the pilot’s flight path, which led to the helicopter’s trajectory being ‘out of step with recommended practices in mountain flying’. The experienced pilot had accumulated more than 6,000 flight hours in the helicopter at the time of the crash. The recording of the conversations onboard the aircraft suggest that he had not correctly identified the landing zone.
“The lack of responsiveness of the pilot at the controls in view of the imminent collision testifies to a lack of awareness of this situation,” notes the BEA-E. The conditions surrounding the flight, with five paragliders flying in the area, contributed to the pilot’s concentration, states the report. One of them was about a hundred meters from the aircraft, ignoring safety instructions.
The judicial investigation into this fatal crash continues. The Air Transport Research Section based in Roissy and the Isère gendarmerie group are in charge of the investigations.