Helicopter crash report released

    Gustavus, Alaska (KINY) A 500-foot free fall preceded the crash in Lituya Bay according to the lone survivor.

    Aiden Pepperd said the pilot, his father Josh Pepperd, reached down and rolled the throttle off, left the collective up and the helicopter entered a free fall.  At about 30 feet the increased the throttle again but the helicopter impacted with the water.  He noticed water splash into the cabin and then went unconscious.

    The Airbus Helicopters AS 350-B3e impacted shallow water on a beach in Glacier Bay National Park about 60 miles northwest of Gustavus on September 28.  The co-pilot was killed and two people remain missing.  The helicopter was registered to Chinilna Equipment LLC and was en route from the Juneau International Airport to Yakutat Airport when the crash occurred.

    Family members said the purpose of the trip was to deliver the helicopter from the Airbus Helicopters factory in Grand Prairie, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska.

    The helicopter departed Juneau and flew west over the mountains at between 3,000 and 4,000 feet above ground level and then north along the cost line at about 500 to 700 feet.  The last recorded GPS point was 8.5 nautical miles southeast of the accident site.

    NTSB officials said investigators arrived on the scene on September 28 and documented the accident site with photos.  They recovered the Appareo Vision 1000 image recording device, the engine data recorder, and digital engine control unit and transported it to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory in Washington, DC.

    The force of the crash left a lot of debris.  Authorities said they could not locate the tailboom, tail rotor assembly, and most of the instrument panel.  A significant amount of wreckage washed ashore and was found on the beach south of the main wreckage.

    The body of David King, 53, or Sutton, was located two days after the accident.  Missing are Josh Pepperd, 42, and Andrew Pepperd, 11.




    More from News of the North

    Current Conditions

    Crude Oil Price