On July 18, 1998, about 1840 local (equivalent of central daylight time), a Bell UH-1H helicopter, operated by the Colombian National Police (PNC), as PNC-159, crashed in a swampy/wooded area about 1 mile north of the village of Nueva Colonia. The two pilots, two flight crewmembers, and three passengers were fatally injured. The passenger-transport flight from Turbo to Carepa, Colombia, had stopped at a soccer field at the Nueva Colonia. It remained turning for approximately 20 minutes, awaiting, according to witnesses, the passage of a weather system which included low visibility and thunder showers. The helicopter was observed to take off from the field, about the time of official sunset, in low visibility and low clouds. It then circled low level to the north of the field. Ground witnesses observed a lightning flash, and shortly thereafter heard the sound of impact.

For further information, contact the Investigator-in-Charge, Captain Vladimir Materon Policia Nacional de Colombia International Airport Bogota Telephone 676-1170

United States Accredited Representative, Thomas R. Conroy. (202) 314-6314

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