NTSB Identification: WPR12FA282
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 30, 2012 in Camp Verde, AZ
Aircraft: AEROSPATIALE AS350B, registration: N729DP
Injuries: 4 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On June 30, 2012, at 1207 Pacific daylight time, an Aerospatiale/Eurocopter AS350B, N729DP, was flying low through the Verde River canyon approximately 8.6 miles south-southeast of Camp Verde, Arizona, and struck a cable that spanned the river at a narrow portion of the canyon/gorge. The helicopter was operated by the owner under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured, and the helicopter was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Scottsdale Airport, Scottsdale, Arizona, around 0825.
The helicopter was reported missing on June 30th by concerned family members. The wreckage was located July 1st in a deep canyon of the Verde River. The helicopter was laying on its right side in approximately 4-5 feet of water in the center of the Verde River. Vertical cliffs extend up from the river bed about 200 feet on both the eastern and western side of the river. Approximately 300 feet north of the wreckage was a cable pulley system that spanned the river, and is estimated to have been elevated 40-50 feet above the river. The steel cable was found severed and the carriage located on the access platform deformed. The cable ends were broomstrawed consistent with overload, and the cable end located on the eastern shore had gray paint and composite blade fibers embedded in the cable strands at the severed cable end. The leading edge of two of the main rotor blades exhibited cable witness marks approximately 3 feet inboard from the rotor tips.
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