In closing, I would like to recognize the hard work of the NTSB staffin
producing this report, andthank my fellow Board Members for their very helpful
participation in the process.
We have seen far too many accidents in public helicopter operations. Since
2004, the NTSB has investigated the crashes of 71 public helicopters that
resulted in 27 deaths and 22 serious injuries.
For example, four people were lost in the 2008 crash of a Maryland State
Police helicopter on an EMS mission, and two more lost their lives in the 2009
crash of a New Mexico State Police helicopter on a search and rescue mission. In
the wake of the accidents, both state police forces made major changes to their
helicopter operations, as we have heard the Alaska Department of Public Safety
has done in response to this accident.
Today, we are reporting once again on a fatal public helicopter accident. We
have made new recommendations to states that have public helicopter operations
and to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
They include a recommendation to implement comprehensive safety management
systems that would hold senior state personnel accountable for operational
safety, be tailored to the department's missions, and be based on industry best
Implementing today's recommendations will enhance the safety of pilots who
fly public aircraft, those who fly with them, and the persons they are
transporting, both in Alaska and elsewhere.
This is an opportunity for the states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto
Rico, to learn from what happened in Alaska, and to address their own public
helicopter operations before they suffer losses of their own.
We stand adjourned.