List of news aircraft accidents and incidents

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This is a list of news aircraft accidents and incidents.

Accidents occurring while gathering news[edit]

F = fatalities;  I = injuries

Accident Date Location News org. Description F I Official Cause
2014-03-18 Seattle, Washington, United States KOMO-TV Helicopter crashed near Seattle Center[1][2] 2 1
2011-08-18 Lake Eyre, Australia Australian Broadcasting Corporation An Eurocopter AS355 helicopter crashed and killed the pilot, reporter and cameraman whilst on location.[3][4] 3 0 "... the pilot probably became spatially disoriented."[4]
2010-06-18 Buenos Aires, Argentina C5N An MBB Bo 105 helicopter crashed and killed the pilot and camera operator while filming a car accident.[5] 2 0
2009-12-16 Montreal, Quebec, Canada CFTM-TV A Robinson R44 traffic helicopter, while filming over Champlain Bridge, crashed in a ditch near Autoroute 10 while trying to make an emergency landing on a nearby heliport.[6][7] 0 2
2009-08-05 Mont-Laurier, Quebec, Canada CFCF-TV An Enstrom 28 helicopter crashed and burst into flames while filming the aftermath of a tornado[8][9] 2 0
2008-11-11 West Palm Beach, Florida, United States WPEC A Bell 206B made an emergency landing after losing power. The tail boom of the helicopter was severed in the accident. Both the pilot and traffic reporter on board escaped serious injury.[10] 0 2 "A loss of engine power due to an undertorqued air line fitting to the fuel control."[11]
2008-10-13 Montgomery County, TX, United States KTRK-TV While traveling to the scene of a shooting, SkyEye-HD crashed into the heavily wooded W.G. Jones State Forest in southern Montgomery County.[12][13] 2 0 Preliminary reports indicate the aircraft lost engine power while traveling over a heavily wooded area. The aircraft then lost altitude and impacted the trees and ground, which resulted in a fire.[14]
2008-06-30 Oakland, California, United States Metro Traffic Networks While engaged in traffic reporting, a Cessna 172M airplane develops engine trouble and makes an emergency landing.[15] 0 2 Loss of engine power due to oil starvation from the improper installation of engine oil pump.[16]
2007-07-30 Grand Prairie, TX, United States KDFW-TV FOX 4 experienced a mechanical failure as it traveled from an 18-wheeler accident to a breaking news event. This failure forced the pilot to make an emergency landing in a heavily wooded area, which resulted in major damage to the aircraft.[17] 0 1 The loss of engine power as result of the failure of one or more of the compressor blades for the 5th stage compressor for undetermined reasons. A contributing factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the pilot to execute a successful autorotation.
2007-07-27 Phoenix, Arizona, United States KNXV-TV and KTVK Two Eurocopter AS350-B2 helicopters from stations KNXV-TV and KTVK news are involved in a mid-air collision and crash while covering a car chase. 4 0 "Both pilots' failure to see and avoid the other helicopter. Contributing to this failure was the pilots' responsibility to perform reporting and visual tracking duties to support their station's ENG operation. Contributing to the accident was the lack of formal procedures for Phoenix-area ENG pilots to follow regarding the conduct of these operations." [18][19]
2007-07-20 Sand Springs, Oklahoma, United States KOTV While performing low altitude flybys during a commercial shoot, a Bell 206B-3 helicopter's main rotor blade struck the satellite dish atop a news truck. 0 1 "The pilot's failure to maintain clearance with ground obstacles, which resulted in a blade strike. A contributing factor was the low altitude selected by the pilot."[20]
2006-07-12 Taos, New Mexico, United States KOB-TV helicopter landed nose first and rolled over while obtaining video of a search and rescue operation 0 0 the loss of tail rotor effectiveness during landing, and the pilot's delayed remedial action to counteract a right yaw [21]
2006-06-26 Chino Hills, California, United States contractor pilot heard a loud bang, landed the helicopter in a state park to investigate, upon taking off the helicopter rolled to the left and impacted the ground. 0 2 undetermined [22]
2004-05-04 Brooklyn, New York, United States WNBC-TV A Eurocopter AS-350BA helicopter crash landed onto an apartment building rooftop after losing hydraulic pressure[23] 0 3 Improper installation of the hydraulic pump drive belt which caused hydraulic system failure.[24]
2003-05-08 Aurora, Colorado, United States KMGH-TV A Bell 206-L4 helicopter crashed after losing power during a simulated emergency landing at the Aurora Reservoir.[25] 0 1 "Inadequate inflight planning/decision by the flight crew and the check pilot's failure to initiate remedial action in a timely manner".[26]
2001-12-12 Vernon, Wisconsin, United States WISN-TV After covering a fire, the pilot of a Robinson R44 helicopter was flying back to airport in low visibility when the aircraft struck power lines and crashed on a highway. 1 2 "The pilot's continued flight into adverse weather and not maintaining altitude/clearance from the static line during cruise flight. Factors were the static wire, the darkness of night, the low ceiling, and the vehicle."[27]
2000-06-23 Springdale, Ohio, United States WLW A 1989 Enstrom 280FX runs out of fuel while observing traffic along I-275. The pilot attempted to land on the roadway, but one skid landed in the grassy median, causing the helicopter to roll over.[28] 0 0 Inadequate preflight and subsequent failure to monitor fuel supply[29]
2000-03-26 Van Nuys, California, United States KTLA-TV while covering a night time event, pilot radio'd hydraulic failure to other news helicopters in the area and opted to return to base rather than land at a closer airport. 0 2 hydraulic pressure loss [30]
2000-03-06 Dallas, North Carolina, United States While covering a news event, helicopter experienced several unanticipated right yaw excursions 0 0 Improper use of flight controls during an emergency landing [31]
2000-03-03 South Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States WTVJ A Sky 6 McDonnell Douglas HU-600N crashes after pitching downward and then pulled up into a steep ascent. Prior to the crash the pilot states over the radio to a nearby inflight helicopter "Watch this." 2 0 "The pilot's ostentatious display and in-flight decision to perform an abrupt low altitude pitch up maneuver (aerobatic flight). This resulted in the main rotor blades colliding with and separating the tail boom assembly while maneuvering, and the helicopters subsequent in-flight collision with terrain."[32]
1999-11-17 Seattle, Washington, United States KIRO-TV helicopter collides with another (non-news) aircraft on a news gathering flight 0 0 failure to maintain separation [33]
1999-06-25 Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, United States WPDE-TV While filming, a Boeing HU-369 helicopter crashes into a marsh.[34] 0 3 "An inflight loss of control due to loss of tail rotor effectiveness as a result of the pilot's inadequate compensation for the winds and improper weather evaluation."[35]
1998-12-03 Passaic, United States WNBC-TV A Eurocopter EC 135-P1 helicopter crashes into the Passaic River 0 2 "The pilot's failure to maintain proper rotor rpm and his improper in flight decision to enter autorotation due to his lack of knowledge of the power plant controls. Factors in the accident were the night conditions and the pilot's improper decision to fly through wake turbulence."[36]
1998-10-13 Bowie, Maryland, United States Metro Traffic While engaged in traffic reporting, a Cessna R172K crashed into a house and burst into flames. Heavy fog was reported at the time of the accident.[37] 1 1 "Pilots failure to maintain adequate airspeed resulted in an inadvertent stall. Pilot's poor in-flight planning/decision and his continued VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions".[38]
1995-07-10 Mexico City, Mexico Televisa An Aerospatiale AS355F helicopter lost control and crashed onto a building killing everyone on board. A person in a vehicle was also injured.[39][40] 3 1
1994-01-13 Lakeland, Florida, United States WESH-TV While covering a circus train derailment, an Aerospatiale AS-350 helicopter makes an emergency landing and flips on its side at a ball field. The pilot and photographer on board were injured.[41] 0 2 Pilots failure to follow emergency procedure for an engine governor malfunction.[42]
1993-08-18 Seattle, Washington, United States KIRO (AM) After experiencing a complete loss of power, pilot Paul Brendle attempts to glide his Enstrom F-28C traffic helicopter to a landing on the beach at Seward Park. He narrowly misses several sunbathers before crashing into a field at the west entrance to the park.[43] 0 1 Shorted magneto condensers.[44]
1993-01-11 Tonawanda, New York, United States WGR Traffic reporting Osage TH-55 helicopter struck power lines and fell into the Niagara River. Traffic reporter Mike Roszman and pilot Herman Kuhn were killed in the accident.[45] 2 0 "Improper inflight planning/decision by the pilot and the failure to maintain clearance from an obstacle during flight. Factors related to the accident include poor visibility and weather conditions at dusk and the pilot's excessive airspeed for the conditions."[46]
1991-12-07 Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, United States WTVD-TV Returning from covering a high school football game in Wilmington.[47] A Eurocopter AS350D helicopter lost power and crash landed in an open field.The sole survivor reported that the pilot reset an engine chip light 5-10 times 20–25 minutes prior to the crash. 3 1 Pilots decision to continue flight after known engine problem and the subsequent seizure of the number two engine bearing.[48]
1991-07-05 Phoenix, Arizona, United States KTAR-AM It was speculated that a model rocket or firework flew past the Robinson R22B helicopter which may have spooked pilot Mike Nuetzman. This may have caused him to lose control of the helicopter and crash into a house causing a subsequent fire. 1 0 "A divergence of the main rotor from its normal plane of rotation for an undetermined reason, which resulted in rotor contact to the cockpit."[49]
1990-11-01 Solana Beach, California, United States Metro Traffic While engaging in traffic reporting, a Grumman AA-1B crashes into an embankment after making a series of steep turns at a low air speed.[50] 2 0 "Inadvertent stall/spin. Factors in the accident were: The pilot's decision to allow the reporter passenger to fly the aircraft in a critical flight situation, his decision to allow the aircraft to descend to an altitude too low to allow for contingencies and the failure of the pilot in command to ensure that the aircraft was properly loaded." [51]
1988-10-19 Deckers, Colorado, United States KUSA-TV A Bell 206L-3 helicopter crashes after hitting power lines.[52] 2 0 Improper inflight planning and visual lookout by the pilot and adverse weather conditions.[53]
1988-08-19 Riviera Beach, Florida, United States WJNO & WRMF While making traffic reports and flying at cruising speed, a Hughes 500 helicopter lost its tail rotor after a grinding noise was heard. While making an emergency landing the helicopter struck a palm tree.[54] 0 2 Failure of the tail rotor gearbox due to a bird strike.[55]
1986-11-25 Cincinnati, Ohio, United States WKRC A Bell 206B crashed in thick fog after traffic reporter Nancy McCormick pressured the pilot to take off despite his suggestion to delay. The crash occurred in a wooded area approximately one mile south of the departure point [56] 2 0 Improper dispatch by the company/management and VFR flight into IMC conditions by the pilot.[57]
1986-10-22 New York, United States WNBC-AM An Enstrom F-28F traffic helicopter crashed into the Hudson River after its engine failed. The pilot entered the helicopter into autorotation (glide) aiming to land in a parking lot, but the helicopter skidded through a fence, after touch down and it fell into the river. Traffic reporter Jane Dornacker was killed in the submerged helicopter, although the pilot freed himself and survived. Dornacker's last urgent words to her pilot, "Hit the water, hit the water!" were heard on the air. 1 2 Improper maintenance and the use of incorrect/unauthorized parts during a previous repair.[58]
1986-06-16 Jacksonville, Florida, United States WAPE-FM & WTLV-TV A Hughes 369HE helicopter crashes during a morning drive broadcast killing reporter Julie Silver and pilot William Smith. Cameraman Brett Snyder was injured.[59] 2 1 Failure of the tail rotor drive shaft coupling due to fatigue.[60]
1986-06-04 Fullerton, California, United States KFI Shortly after takeoff, a Cessna 177B used for traffic reporting developed engine trouble and struck a semi truck. The craft burst into flames and the pilot/reporter was killed.[61] 1 0 Reason for the occurrence undetermined. Improper inflight decision making and planning by the pilot. Inadequate air speed and stall.[62]
1986-01-21 Ellendale, Minnesota, United States ABC News Helicopter hired by an ABC news crew agreed to fly in low visibility despite refusals by other pilots. Non-instrument rated pilot crashed in low visibility.[63] 3 0 dark, visibility, pilot error [64]
1985-05-05 Spokane, Washington, United States KREM-TV A Hughes 369D helicopter strikes a transmitting tower guy-wire and crashes at the station while taking off killing the replacement pilot and cameraman Gary Brown.[65] 2 0 Inadequate planning and visual lookout by pilot. Failure to maintain clearance.[66]
1984-07-31 Akashi, Hyōgo, Japan Two news helicopters collided while covering a robbery story. One of the helicopters crashed onto a building's roof, killing all on board. The second helicopter made a crash landing in a parking lot injuring the three on board. One person on the ground was also injured.[67] 3 0
1984-09-19 Jecheon, South Korea KBS A television station helicopter struck a power line and crashed into the Namhan River.[68] 5 0
1984-09-13 Cherry Creek, Colorado, United States KUSA-TV A Bell 206L-3 crash landed into Cherry Creek after losing power. 0 3 "Fuel system,Fuel control..Fatigue

Maintenance,Installation..Improper..Other Maintenance Personnel"[69]

1983-12-03 Ft. Morgan, Colorado, United States KUSA-TV While attempting to land a Bell 206B helicopter during white out conditions, the main rotor struck the ground and the helicopter rolled over. 0 2 Flight into known adverse weather..initiated..pilot in command,Weather conditions..clouds,Weather conditions..fog, Overconfidence in personal ability..pilot in command,Terrain conditions..snow-covered, Weather conditions..whiteout[70]
1983-10-18 Hudson, New Hampshire, United States WCVB-TV While en route to pick up film for the station, a Bell 206B III crashed and burst into flames in an apartment building parking lot. Prior to the crash the pilot issued a "Mayday, engine failure" call.[71] 1 0 Failure of the engine turbine wheel due to fatigue.[72]
1983-06-27 Kent, Washington, United States KIRO (AM) An Enstrom 280C crashes into a grassy field after pilot Paul Brendle lost control of the chopper's rear rotor. This is Brendle's second accident in 10 months while reporting on traffic for KIRO.[73] 0 1 Inadequate maintenance resulting in worn tail rotor drive shaft spine coupling.[74]
1983-01-17 Cincinnati, Ohio, United States WCPO-TV A Bell 206B runs out of fuel during an approach for landing in front of the station. It collided with a light pole and crashed onto an exit ramp of I-75.[75] 0 0 Fuel exhaustion
1982-12-17 Larkspur, Colorado, United States KOA-TV Helicopter pilot/reporter Karen Key's Bell 206B helicopter crashes into a stand of trees in bad weather while covering a commuter plane crash. Both Key and her mechanic were killed.[76] 2 0 VFR flight into IMC conditions and alcohol impairment by the pilot.[77]
1982-08-09 Seattle, Washington, United States KIRO (AM) Pilot Paul Brendle crash lands the KIRO Copter, an Enstrom F-280, on the shores of Lake Washington after the aircraft loses power. The rear rotor rips away, shearing off the aluminum mast of a sailboat docked nearby, causing it to sink.[78] 0 0 Throttle-activating arm improperly engaged.[79]
1982-07-13 Charleston, South Carolina, United States WCSC-TV Shortly after take off, a Cessna 152 being used for traffic reporting crashes near the runway.[80] 1 0 Airspeed not maintained and improper use of the controls by the pilot.[81]
1982-04-07 Adelaide, Australia Channel 9 A television station helicopter crashes while engaging in low level filming around a racecourse.[82] 0 3
1982-01-07 Lang Lang, Victoria, Australia Channel 7 While filming a traffic accident at a low altitiude, a Bell 206B helicopter goes out of control and crashes.[83] [84] 5 Loss of tail rotor effectiveness due to unknown reasons.[85]
1982-01-01 Pagosa Springs, Colorado, United States KMGH-TV Helicopter forced to make emergency landing due to poor weather conditions.[86] 0 0
1981-07-29 Summit Township, Pennsylvania, United States WJET-TV Robinson R22 helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff at the stations studio.[87] 0 1 Interference of the cyclic flight control by passenger held video camera.[88]
1980-05-26 Winslow, Washington, United States KIRO-TV & KOMO (AM) While covering Memorial Day traffic, KIRO's Bell 206B helicopter and KOMO's Cessna 172M airplane are involved in a mid-air collision. Although both aircraft are damaged, they are able to make emergency landings on a golf course.[89] 0 0 The pilots of both aircraft cited for diverted attention from operation of aircraft and failure to see and avoid other aircraft.[90][91]
1980-11-22 Waxahachie, Texas, United States WFAA-TV A Eurocopter AS350 helicopter crashes in fog/rain conditions[92] 3 0 Continued VFR flight into adverse weather conditions and spatial disorientation.[93]
1979-11-15 Vienna, Virginia, United States WTOP While engaged in traffic reporting, a Cessna 172N airplane runs out of fuel and crashes.[94] 0 2 Improper preflight planning and mismanagement of fuel by the pilot.[95]
1979-07-14 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States KYW-TV A Bell 206B Jet Ranger helicopter loses power and crashes into the Schuylkill River while filming a "Jogathon"[96] 2 2 Main drive shaft coupling failed do to unknown loss of lubricant[97]
1977-12-27 Quincy, Massachusetts, United States WEEI While engaged in traffic reporting, a Hughes 269B helicopter loses power and crashes into an apartment building while attempting an emergency landing. A fire developed in the building following the crash.[98] 2 0 Power plant for undetermined reasons and the failure of the pilot to maintain adequate rotor rpm.[99]
1977-08-01 Los Angeles, California, United States KNBC-TV Pilot\reporter and former U2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers along with cameraman George Spears are killed in the crash of a Bell 206B helicopter. The "KNBC News Telecopter" ran out of fuel which caused the accident. 2 0 Improper inflight decisions and mismanagement of fuel which lead to fuel exhaustion.[100]
1972-06-26 New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, United States WCAU The main rotor blade separated from a Bell 206A at an approximate altitude of 300 ft[101] 4 0 Material failure of the main rotor retention strap.[102]
1971-08-10 Bellwood, Illinois, United States WGN (AM) The WGN Trafficopter, a Bell 47G-2A1 strikes a power pole and explodes over a vacant lot. Killed are Patrolman Irwin Hayden of the Chicago Police and pilot David Demarest.[103] 2 0 Loss of control due to failure of tail rotor driveshaft yoke.[104]
1971-05-20 Isle of Portland, United Kingdom A Royal Navy Westland Wessex helicopter, serial number XM875, crashes while carrying press photographers covering NATO maneuvers. Three of the five photographers were killed while two others and the crew of two survived.[105] 3 1 Engine failure while in the hover alongside USS Bigelow, ditched, rolled to starboard and sank in 48 ft of water.[106]
1970-07-26 Japanese Alps, Japan Yomiuri Shimbun While on a "picture taking mission" a news helicopter crashed in flames 500 ft below the summit of Mount Yari killing two of the three on board. Two nearby mountain climbers were also injured.[107] 2 3
1970-02-01 Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States A Bell 47G-2 carrying a newspaper photographer crashes onto frozen Lake Winnebago and rolls over while covering an ice fishing jamboree. There were high wind gusts at the time of the accident.[108] 0 3 Improper operation of the flight controls by the pilot.[109]
1969-01-10 Astoria, Queens, United States WOR While in the middle of a live traffic broadcast, a Bell 47G-2 crashed through the roof of an apartment building. Following the crash a fire started in the building. The relief reporter/pilot, Frank McDermott realized the helicopter was in danger. He abruptly cut short his live report, telling the newscaster, "Take it back, John." McDermott either jumped or fell from the aircraft and was found dead in a yard across the street from the struck building.[110] 1 0 Improper maintenance, tail rotor pitch control system over torqued.[111]
1966-12-10 Sydney, Australia ABN Channel 2 Bell 47 helicopter lost its tail rotor and crashed on top of a building while filming footage of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney skyline.[112] 3 0 Metal fatigue of the tail rotor attaching bolt[113]
1966-11-17 Castaic, California, United States KNBC A Hiller UH12L4 crashes while covering a previous crash.[114] 0 0 Pilot failed to maintain proper rotor rpm.[115]
1966-09-01 Tuxedo, Maryland, United States WWDC A traffic reporting Hughes 296B helicopter experienced engine failure and crashed shortly after take off. The craft struck a high voltage wire during its descent and burst into flames on impact.[116] 2 0 Power plant failure of undetermined reasons and poor judgment along with selection of unsuitable terrain by the pilot.[117]
1966-08-30 Los Angeles, United States KMPC 710 A traffic reporting Bell 47G-4 is involved in a mid-air collision with a LAPD Bell 47G-4 helicopter over Dodger Stadium.[118] 5 0 Both pilots failed to see and avoid due to sunglare.[119][120]
1964-10-14 Houston, Texas, United States KODA The KODA Bird, a Hughes 269A used for traffic reports, crashed and erupted into flames. Announcer Ted Carr and pilot Billy Holmes were both killed.[121] 2 0 Failure of main rotor blades.[122]
1960-05-02 Chicago, Illinois, United States WGN (AM) A Bell helicopter used for airborne traffic reports suffered a rotor failure, striking a railroad overpass near the intersection of North Milwaukee Avenue and West Hubbard Street and bursting into flames. Wreckage was strewn over a one-block radius, with a large portion of fuselage landing near rush-hour traffic. Chicago Police Officer Leonard Baldy, who had become a popular radio personality, was killed along with pilot George Ferry.[123] 2 0

Accidents occurring outside news-gathering activities[edit]

F = fatalities;  I = injuries

Date Location News org. Description F I Official Cause
2007-03-23 Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, United States WWBT The helicopter, not performing electronic news gathering at the time, struck a power line and crashed.[124][125] 0 2 pilot failure to maintain lookout [126]
2004-08-19 Collier County, Florida, United States WINK-TV The helicopter, returning from refueling in Miami, crashed in the Florida Everglades.[127] 0 1
1997-11-08 Portland, Oregon, United States KATU A Bell 206B, which was leased to the station, crashed while harvesting Christmas Trees. 0 0 "Excessive deceleration of the helicopter by the pilot-in-command, resulting in an in-flight main rotor blade strike on the helicopter's external load line and subsequent main rotor separation." [128]
1992-02-12 Fort Collins, Colorado, United States KUSA-TV A Bell 206L-3 that was being taken for maintenance/repair due to a rotor vibration crashed into a reservoir.[129] 2 1 Improper maintenance during a previous engine overhaul caused bearing failure and power loss .[130]
1986-05-12 Pine Springs, Texas, United States KDFW-TV A Bell 206B crashed while returning with food for a station crew that was making reports from a remote area.[131] 2 0 Improper maintenance resulting in the main drive shaft uncoupling.[132]
1984-09-24 Kernersville, North Carolina, United States WFMY-TV While attempting to rescue an injured construction worker from a water tower being dismantled, a Bell 206B helicopter struck the tower and crashed.[133] 2 0 Clearance misjudged by the pilot in command.[134]
1979-09-11 Phoenix, Arizona, United States KTVK A Hughes 269A aircraft leased to the station that was shooting promotional photos of the helicopter and of the Phoenix area crash landed in a field next to the station.[135][136] 0 0 Anti-torque pedals blocked by photo equipment (likely a camera). Overload failure listed as a factor.


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