Final Report: Spatial disorientation in night IMC downed EMS helo
Eurocopter BO 105 CBS5, Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., Oct. 20, 2004–The NTSB blamed the helicopter accident on the pilot’s spatial disorientation and in-flight loss of control after encountering night IMC. A factor was the pilot’s decision to fly when IMC was forecast.
The Metro Aviation helicopter, Airheart One, was flying to DeFuniak Springs to pick up a patient when it crashed in Choctawatchee Bay, killing all three people–the commercial-rated pilot, a paramedic and a flight nurse–on board. The helicopter was destroyed.
A witness saw a helicopter flying either into or behind a big cloud. It was just starting to drizzle and rain. He then saw lightning, followed by the helicopter making a U turn and descending at a 45-degree angle into the water.