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Fatal flight's pilot overtaxed copter's capabilities

Posted at 1:59 PM, Mar 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-23 16:59:32-04

PHOENIX (AP) - Federal investigators say a pilot flew a medical helicopter beyond its capabilities on a high-speed, low-level flight across mountainous east-central Arizona before it hit a slope on a ridge, killing two of the crew members aboard.

A National Transportation Safety Board final report on the Dec. 15, 2015 crash said the pilot lost control of the helicopter as the combination of high speed and other factors overtaxed the helicopter's hydraulics system.

The report released Monday says the crash occurred as the Native Air Ambulance flight operated by Air Methods Corp. descended and accelerated after clearing one ridge but then couldn't clear another one in a remote area about 15 miles (24 kilometers) east of Globe.

The pilot and flight nurse were killed. The paramedic was severely injured but survived.