Preliminary Report: EMS flight crashes in mountains

 - January 24, 2007, 10:06 AM

Bell 412, Hesperia, Calif., Dec. 10, 2006–Bell 412SP N410MA, operated by LifeNet dba Mercy Air Services, crashed in the mountains near the top of Cajon Pass, killing the commercial pilot and two medical crewmembers. The helicopter was destroyed in the post-crash fire. VMC prevailed along the route from the Loma Linda University Medical Center to Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville. A company VFR flight plan was filed. It was the sixth flight of the day through the Cajon Pass in the area of the accident site for the helicopter but the first conducted at night.

The NTSB reviewed data from the helicopter’s OuterLink Automatic Flight Following System, a satellite-based tracking system that reports the helicopter’s location to the ground base. It showed that the helicopter departed from Loma Linda Medical Center and flew toward the Cajon Pass, then followed the northbound Interstate 15 until it had almost reached the summit of the Cajon Pass.

It then turned away from the highway and continued northeast. Its last known position was recorded at 5:55 p.m., 0.3 nm northwest of the first impact point. The first fire department responders reported that the area was covered by intermittent waves of fog.