View Full Version : Helicopter onboard research vessel "Polarstern" crashed - two dead
3rd Mar 2008, 01:02
Pilot and Scientist died in a crash in the antcartic. Three passengers suffered severe injuries - the survivors are treated at the hospital ward onboard the ship.
Weather was reported good, cause of crash undetermined.
The crashed aircraft was the onboard helicopter of the "Polarstern" - a german research and supply vessel assigned to support year round research facilities like the "Neumayer Station" in antarctica.
On earlier missions the aircraft was a BO105 - don't know if it was a same aircraft on this mission.
For all of you who can read german:
Website "Polarstern" (english):
3rd Mar 2008, 16:10
:-( bad news.
As far as I know, there were two German BO105 based on the ship "Polarstern". D-HAWI and D-HLSZ
3rd Mar 2008, 16:49
Spencer17 posted some wonderful pictures of heli ops from the RV Polarstern in the South Atlantic and Antarctica here: http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?p=3543555&highlight=Polarstern#post3543555
Posts 2967 onwards.
3rd Mar 2008, 20:38
Heliport, Spencer17 wasn't the pilot was he? I just hope not as it really brings these accidents home when one of the pprune 'rotorheads' community dies.
R.I.P those who lost their lives.
3rd Mar 2008, 20:53
International Herald Tribune (http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/03/03/europe/EU-GEN-Netherlands-Antarctica.php):
Helicopter crashes in Antarctica, killing two
The Associated PressPublished: March 3, 2008
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands: A scientific research helicopter has crashed in Antarctica, killing its German pilot and a Dutch technician.
Jan Boon of the Netherlands Institute for Undersea Research says the cause of the crash is not known. Three others were injured in Sunday's accident, which happened under clear skies.
The helicopter was shuttling between the German ship Polarstern and German research base Neumayer II on the icy continent when it crashed.
The survivors are waiting with the bodies of those killed for evacuation to Cape Town as soon as weather permits a plane to land.
3rd Mar 2008, 21:09
Heliport, Spencer17 wasn't the pilot was he?
I think that Spencer17 now works for PDG.
Anyway, he was on the forum today: Last Activity: Today 16:54
RIP to those involved.
3rd Mar 2008, 23:18
No, it wasn't me luckily.
But what a terrible accident. May the injured recover well and the dead rest in peace.
I know the medical crew of the "Polarstern" the injured will get the best care.
They can deal with nearly everything except Heart problems and Brain injuries.
P.S. If someone nows the name of the pilot pls PM me.
4th Mar 2008, 10:12
Thx for the PM's.
4th Mar 2008, 10:28
My thoughts go out to everyone involved.
30th Jun 2008, 16:03
Any details on the accident that happened in the Antarctic two months ago that resulted in the death of Stephan and crew?
He was flying a helicopter supporting the New Zealand Exploration team when they went down, RIP all aboard. CFIT reported.
30th Jun 2008, 19:14
Stephan worked for the helitransair, i do my cpl training with them, but I've never met him. Lots of our employees talked to the copilot who survived the accident. He cant remember anything from the crash. He said they woke up some time after impact and the next thing he remembers was the BO105 coming for rescue. As you can imagine he wasnt really happy to talk about the accident, so we are all still waiting that he starts to talk about it by himself. Helitransair flys operations from the ship Polarstern with two BO105. Ive been told that the wreckage had been lifted to the polarstern and will be analised when the ship returns from its journey. The injured and bodies where brought to a hospital in the south of africa...my information is not quite up to date, it is second hand knowledge and as i said, i havent met stephan myself. The ship might have been returned by now. I could try to get additional information tomorrow in the company.
Maybe you could share how you came to know stephan and where you guys worked together. I will tell the pilots who worked with him at helitransair about this thread, maybe we can create a requiem.
This accident was discussed here before:
The first report of the german BFU was released a month ago ( only in german )
1st Jul 2008, 07:57
I recieved the bad news on this tragic accident. Stephan Winter used to work for us in Saudi Aramco as a contract pilot. He was superb by all means. Depspite of our attempts to upgrade him and hire him as regular; he had to leave due to family location and other comittment in Newzeland. RIP, Stephan and the other person. It really hurts. My condolesense go to his family and relatives.
1st Jul 2008, 13:56
I have flown with Stephan here in Arabia, as a crewmember and as an evaluator. I have done training flights with many pilots and Stephan was in the top two percent. The thing that I take from this tragedy is that if it can happen to him, it can happen to me or you. Keep the radar up and expect the unexpected.
I miss him as a friend and feel we have lost a real stand up guy.
1st Jul 2008, 16:36
I had the opportunity and pleasure to work with Stephan here in Arabia. Stephan was a great pilot, - and an gentleman of the first order.
He will always be missed and serves as a reminder that we are never beyond finality.
Murphy has to be kept at bay!
anyone got this report in english please?
2nd Jul 2008, 06:42
donīt have time to translate it in total.
There have been witnesses and videoevidence from inside the helicopter.
Pilot did some steep turns, sharp decends and pull ups to the ship and to the shelf-ice-border.
Seemed to do a negative g manover pull up and putting nose down with decent afterwards and impacted shortly afterwars on a great snowarea with high speed, left skid first (was torn off).
Both occupants in the front died, passengers in the back were injured.
Donīt say anymore....
Greetings Flying Bull
2nd Jul 2008, 17:40
I concur with Flying Bull, but I'd like to add that they are discussing in the report if whiteout conditions could be to blame.
It is not quite clear how the fun flight ("everybody on-board was in high spirits") actually ended: "the pullup in front of the ice followed by a push-over and a steep descent that had been terminated - here ended the memory of all eye witnesses" (interesting how the human brain shuts off, or omits the memory after an accident) - probably caught the steep descent, and didn't realize his close proximity to the ground and dug a skid in.
The ride the pilot gave his pax was obviously a little rough though, considering that the mast-moment light came on on the pullup.
2nd Jul 2008, 18:45
Some corrections to FlyingBulls translation.
The report says they did som fun flying after the departure from the ship.
But the accident itself happend on the approach to land (1.5NM east of the arctic station Neumeyer 2).
Looks like a CFIT in whiteout-conditions. Nothing to do with steep turns on the departure.
2nd Jul 2008, 19:47
That's what I meant when I said that it is unclear how long after that steep descent they impacted.
But it does not say like you claim it was "on approach to land":=
It says "not far from the the research station, on a snow covered area reaching to the horizon, the helicopter touched the ground with high forward speed". Helicopters do not apprach or land with high forward speed...
...and I did mention the possibility of whiteout conditions.
cheers for that,
does anyone have the full report to this? if it is out?
3rd Jul 2008, 10:58
I just read the BFU report of the accident.
I agree with the translation of Flying Bull and Phil77.
I found nothing about an approach to land.
...a right turn with high bank towards the ship they did a tight left turn followed by a high speed descent towards the shelf ice border. short before the shelf ice border there was an sharp and abrupt pull up. At that point the mast moment warning light comes up....
....."the pullup in front of the ice followed by a push-over and a steep descent that had been terminated - here ended the memory of all eye witnesses..."
...there was an merry mood throughout the maneuver...:(
I fly the BO 105 myself and I know that kind of flying - very sad
3rd Jul 2008, 11:47
I just gave a short summery.
You can read the report in different ways.
They write subsequently it came close to the station to the accident.
I donīt know, how far the station was away from the ships position.
Still, bending (mastmoment) the bird in flight doesnīt give hints to less risky flight after the first "show offs".
My humble guess is, that after the manovers some low flying followed....
But thatīs just a guess with no evidence - just my experience....
Still, RIP and whoever wants to show off, remenber that most accidents are pilot induced.....
Greetings Flying Bull
4th Jul 2008, 15:11
There is no evidence that the "show-off" flying is connected in any way to the accident - but it does seem to be likely... maybe after some time the survivors will be able to remember.
That whole fun flying discussion in that report got me thinking about the other german BO-105 accident in 2003:
HEMS Pilot flies under a bridge (supposedly less than a meter (!) clearance above and below:eek:) - he made it through, but on the other side he pushed over to fly away when the skids caught a sheet of ice, floating in the waterway, and rolled over. Pilot and nurse survived, but the 37 yr old doc in the back drowned.
Obviously there is NO CONNECTION to the accident discussed here - just a reminder how show-off flying can end; even though the event described above is not "fun", or "show of" - just plain stupid (btw. the pilot flew for 10 years - also in the military where they do stuff like flying under bridges... but not for fun)
Surely I had my share of "fun-flying" or "showing-off" and most likely will feel tempted to do it again. Sadly should anything happen - maybe well later and totaly unrelated - it will be perceived by others that I was acting careless or reckless.
Just my thoughts and not intended to point fingers.
30th Oct 2008, 14:46
A bit late, but only now just found this dialog concerning the accident and Stefan.
To whom it may concern; the pilots name was not Stephan but Stefan Winter, in good spirit the morning of the accident around 6pm, the last time I spoke to him and only 2.5 hr before the crash. Really appreciated spending the last 2 weeks of his life in his presence (as participant of the expedition). Shocking what happened and also still curious about what really happened. Took notice of wreck and crashsite. 4800 flight hours (including previous 2 Arctic and 2 Antarctic expeditions) in combination with his relaxed, gentle appearance resulting in "show-off flying" and a crash puzzled me. Good to hear that he belonged to the top 2% (PatMcgroin)
The morning of the crash 80% of the sky was overcast with only a dim horizon and diffuse light. Don't know what that means (as I am not a pilot), can only guess. Station was still not in reach at location where it happened (approach to land not likely).
Lost a good friend and indeed a gentleman of the first order :( there and then. He will be missed.