Accident Agusta A109K2 N601RX,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 45316
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Date:Friday 10 January 2003
Type:Silhouette image of generic A109 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Agusta A109K2
Owner/operator:IHC Life Flight
Registration: N601RX
MSN: 10017
Year of manufacture:1993
Total airframe hrs:3545 hours
Engine model:Turbomeca Arriel 1K1
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Salt Lake City, UT -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Salt Lake City, UT
Destination airport:Wendover, UT
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On January 10, 2003, approximately 2050 mountain standard time, an Agusta A-109-K2 twin-engine helicopter, N601RX, operated as Life Flight 6, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while attempting to maneuver in dense fog near the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), near Salt Lake City, Utah. The instrument-rated commercial pilot and the flight paramedic were fatally injured, and the flight nurse was seriously injured. The helicopter was owned and operated by IHC (Intermountain Health Care) Health Services, Inc., of Salt Lake City, and doing business as (d.b.a.) IHC Life Flight. Night instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight, for which a company visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed. The flight originated at the LDS Hospital, Salt Lake City, at 2032, and was destined for Wendover, Utah, to pick up a patient who had been injured in an auto accident.

While maneuvering low to the ground during night conditions, the air ambulance helicopter encountered fog and poor weather conditions, and impacted the terrain. Shortly after departing from its hospital base, the helicopter was cleared by air traffic control to proceed through a major airport's airspace to respond to a medical emergency. After crossing through the airspace, the pilot elected to abort the mission; however, he was instructed by air traffic control to hold and wait for clearance through the airspace due to landing traffic at the airport. After holding for approximately 10 minutes, the pilot stated, "I'm basically inadvertent IMC at this time and declaring emergency...I'm currently on a heading one five zero." Examination of the accident site revealed the helicopter impacted the terrain on a heading of 150 degrees, became airborne for approximately 1/4 mile, then impacted the terrain and came to rest upright in a grassy field. According to documents provided by the operator, the pilot had accumulated a total of 311 simulated instrument flight time, and 3 hours of actual instrument flight time. Examination of the helicopter revealed no evidence of an in-flight control or system malfunction prior to the initial impact. Prior to the accident helicopter's departure from the hospital base, another air ambulance company helicopter attempted the same mission; however, aborted the mission due to fog and deteriorating weather conditions.'

Probable Cause: The pilot's delayed remedial action and continued flight into known adverse weather conditions which resulted in his failure to maintain clearance with the ground. Contributing factors were the prevailing fog, and the pressure to complete the mission induced by the pilot in command as a result of the air ambulance operation.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: FTW03FA082
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 2 months
Download report: Final report


Air International FEB 2003




Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
07-Feb-2009 10:37 harro Updated
27-Jan-2010 09:54 Alpine Flight Updated [Aircraft type, Other fatalities]
01-Mar-2015 19:19 Aerossurance Updated [Source]
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
08-Dec-2017 18:02 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Nature, Source, Narrative]
28-Dec-2020 17:20 TB Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
10-Jan-2022 08:09 Aerossurance Updated [Nature, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
26-Aug-2023 15:54 Captain Adam Updated [[Nature, Source, Embed code, Narrative]]

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