November 5, 2007, Jamestown, Tenn., Robinson R44


The aircraft was destroyed in a post-crash fire, and its commercial pilot and two passengers were fatally injured at 1315 Central time when the helicopter collided with trees and terrain after takeoff from a creek bed. Visual conditions prevailed.

The helicopter was operating from a creek bed oriented approximately north/south. The creek bed was about 70 feet wide, with cliffs and tall trees on both banks. A four-strand set of power lines oriented approximately east/west crossed the creek about 125 feet above the water. Several witnesses stated that the power lines were discussed with the pilot, either one-on-one, or in groups. The pilot assured one witness “it was safe.”

Describing the accident, a second witness said, “The helicopter took off out of the creek bed, looked like he was going to do a U-turn, and got caught by the wind, and then got sling-shotted over and hit the power lines. The wind was blowing pretty good, and slung it into the power lines.”


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