NTSB: Pilot at fault for 2010 EagleMed crash

NTSB: Pilot at fault for 2010 EagleMed crash

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The National Transportation Safety Board has officially confirmed a pilot's actions are to blame for a medical helicopter crash nearly three years ago.

The EagleMed helicopter went down July 22, 2010, killing the pilot, Al Harrison, and a flight nurse, Ryan Duke. An EMT, Mike Eccard, was also on board the flight and survived. He recounted his story to the NTSB, resulting in the findings.

The helicopter was en route to Okeene to pick up a patient when a conversation began about flying on a "coyote hunt". According to Eccard, Harris then began a low-level maneuver to demonstrate a coyote hunt flight. As the helicopter was making the maneuver, the aircraft and main rotor blades hit trees and terrain. The NTSB investigated and determined the helicopter did not have any malfunctions or failures that would have caused the crash.

A toxicology report was done and detected several medications including hydrocodone (a prescription medication for pain), diazepam (a prescription medication with sedative effects) and chlorpheniramine (an over-the-counter sedating antihistamine. A review of the pilot's medical history found several treatments for conditions that were not reported to the Federal Aviation Administration. According to the NTSB, it is likely the medications would have impaired Harris' judgement and ability to maintain control.

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