NTSB Identification: WAS02WA042.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, January 22, 2002 in GABORONE, Botswana
Aircraft: Schweizer 333, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On January 22, 2002, at 0547 UTC, a Schweitzer 333 helicopter, Botswana registration A2-HDB, was destroyed by fire on impact with terrain within minutes of the flight at Sir Seretse Khama Airport, Gaborone. The helicopter, on a local solo flight, took off with a full load of fuel in the eastern direction when it subsequently crashed some 600m from lift off point. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed that morning and no flight plan had been filed for the local solo flight.

According to eyewitnesses, the helicopter was warming up when he appeared on the scene some 25-m away from the lift off point. He reported that the engine was running normally during warm up for about 5 minutes, and more power was applied until the helicopter lifted off and cleared the ground by approximately 1 foot when it slightly rolled to the left spilling some fluid which he believed to be fuel from a vent line. About 30 seconds later, the witness saw another puff of fluid come from the helicopter, but this time a fine large mist cloud. Within few seconds another large puff of fluid mist came from the helicopter and almost instantly caught fire. The fire appeared to start from port lower half, aft of the cabin area and the whole aft under section of the helicopter through to almost the tail rotor. The witness further reported that flames were noticed coming from the side, what appeared to be out of the exhaust. At this point in time, the witness heard engine change sound from what seemed to be a short increase to almost a dead cut. The helicopter was subsequently observed going down and bursting into a fireball almost immediately. Numerous other witnesses reported unusual maneuvers as well as a very loud banging sound midway the flight path.

The engine is under further examination.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction and control of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Unit of the Director of Civil Aviation, Botswana. Any further information may be obtained from:

Botswana Department of Civil Aviation
IIC Wayne Mlazie
P.O. Box 250
Gaborone
Botswana
Telephone:
Telex: 2522 DCAHQ BD
Telegrams: AVIATION
Fax: 353709
303348
Reference: AIG 3/01/02 I

This report is for informational purposes only and contains only information released by, or obtained from the DCA Botswana.

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