Final Report: Swiss JetRanger crashed in Glacier

 - January 2, 2008, 9:31 AM

Bell 206B JetRanger III, Sustenlimi, Switzerland, March 26, 2005–The JetRanger, carrying three skiers to the Steinfletscher glacier, crashed in the glacier plateau, killing the pilot and three passengers. Their bodies were recovered but worsening weather conditions delayed inspection of the wreckage. According to the Swiss Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau, the accident was “attributable to the fact that the helicopter collided at high speed with the snow-covered terrain in diffuse visibility.” Factors included “unrecognized hazards of variable wind and visibility condition, with regard to the helicopter’s control characteristics, and incorrectly evaluated performance requirement conditions.”

At 7:45 a.m., the JetRanger took off from Erstfeld and flew to the mountain landing site, depositing 10 fuel cans and a cooler of drinks. It then flew to Nessental to pick up the first of the 10 waiting passengers and mountain guide. The first flight took off at 8:10 and dropped off three passengers at the glacier, after which the commercial pilot returned for three more passengers. It was this second flight that crashed.