Rotorcraft Update: This year's second Salt Lake City-area aeromed crash claims pilot

 - July 30, 2008, 10:23 AM

Searchers scouring the ground near the impact site of an Agusta A109K2 operated for Salt Lake City’s Latter Day Saints Hospital have found the part suspected in the tail-rotor failure and the helicopter’s subsequent crash on June 7. Killed in the accident was pilot Brent Cowley. Flight nurse Denise Ward and paramedic Brian Allred suffered minor injuries. The Life Flight helicopter had been called to pluck a dehydrated hiker from Mount Olympus, east of Salt Lake City, that Saturday, using a hoist to drop her off to the care of ground-based ambulance crews at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. The helicopter crashed within seconds after its subsequent takeoff. NTSB investigators later linked the crash to a tail-rotor failure caused by a cracked trunnion, which was recovered roughly 1,000 feet from the crash site. The accident was the third fatal medical rescue helicopter crash in Utah in the past five years, and the second since January. That’s when another Life Flight helicopter, also an Agusta A109K2, came down in open ground near Salt Lake City International Airport, killing its pilot and paramedic. Dense fog contributed to that accident. Both helicopters were owned and operated for the hospital by Intermountain Health Care Services of Salt Lake City.