Dec. 3, Newark, N.J. / Eurocopter EC-135-P1


About 17:40 EST, a Eurocopter EC-135-P1 operating as a news helicopter for a local television station crashed into the Passaic River. The pilot and the camera operator received minor injuries. The flight used a radio call sign of Chopper 4. The flight had passed over the ILS localizer final approach course for Runway 22L at Newark when the pilot transmitted, May Day, May Day, Chopper 4 is… About 5 seconds later, the pilot transmitted, May Day, May Day, our engines are out, were going down. Another news helicopter followed Chopper 4, recorded the forced landing on video, and reported the helicopter was down in the river. The pilot received a head injury and had no direct memory of the accident. The camera operator reported that while en route to a story, at an altitude of about 1,000 feet, the helicopter encountered a vertical oscillation that was stronger than anything he had previously felt in-flight. A review of the video from the onboard gyro-stabilized camera revealed changes in transmission noise levels. Footage from the other helicopter showed flames emitting intermittently from both engine exhausts. Examination of the recovered helicopter showed the last row of turbine blades on the left engine were fractured about mid-span. Additional damage was observed to the trailing edge of the preceding row of guide vanes.


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