View Full Version : Austria - alpine rescuer dead after release of HEC
29th Apr 2012, 15:59
Today morning an alpine rescuer was killed after beeing released from 10 meters above ground as HEC at the Grossvenediger. Stormy conditions, fog,...
Alpinpolizist stirbt bei Bergungsaktion in Osttirol - Osttirol - Chronik - Tirol - Nachrichten | TT Online (http://www.tt.com/%c3%9cberblick/Chronik/ChronikOsttirol/4711013-6/alpinpolizist-stirbt-bei-bergungsaktion-in-osttirol.csp)
29th Apr 2012, 18:25
29th Apr 2012, 19:05
An desk officer from the austrian aviation authority as part time pilot in the private air rescue business pressed the button and dropped the most experienced high mountain rescuer in that part of the Alps to dead. :yuk: :ugh: :mad:
Wonder why it's allways the same helicopter operator in the headlines of Austria.
30th Apr 2012, 06:53
Donīt know the circumstances.......but an old saying was popping through my mind, when i read that...
"If you pay peanuts........"
Was thinking exactly the same-an "experienced pilot with 2000h" as a "part time pilot" in mountain rescue AND in bad weather?
Sorry.....there have been a few things gone wrong BEFORE the trigger has been pressed...
30th Apr 2012, 09:11
Impressive risk management. 1 fatal and 2 seriously injured to recover a body while 70kt storm and fog in 3600m.
30th Apr 2012, 10:10
Donīt know the weather minimas for the company-but in this part of the mountains, weather tends to change REALLY fast (like almost anywhere in the mountains)....
Not an excuse.......curious to find out more about this one..
It looks like we are slowly getting the output of all the "very experienced" low-timer guys, that the old chaps were complaining about a few years ago..
30th Apr 2012, 11:12
30th Apr 2012, 11:42
...and this... not about the cable car accident btw but another lost load...
30th Apr 2012, 12:41
Just how does one "punch off" a Short Haul load?
That in itself tells it all.....when one strings human beings from the helicopter....you should remove the ability to release the load by any other means than say manually operated bolt cutters or a big sharp knife or axe! The system should incorporate two anchor points and can have an Emergency Release system but it should require TWO independent actions to function. If the Rope or Wire gets snagged the aircraft does need a way to release the device to free the aircraft.
A Rescue Hoist does have a "Cable Cutter" with a back up of a pair of Bolt Cutters....but that is a different kettle of fish which is used in the event of the cable fouling on something.
Bottom line....anything that goes on a Cargo Hook is expendable...and that does not include People!
Every Short Haul should be flown with the 'safe" landing of the people on the line being the only priority....and anything else is secondary.
AC 29-2c contains provision for HEC Class D (which includes 'short haul'); here are a couple of examples:
Single Point Suspension External Airborne Personnel Load
Is defined by § 1.1, as a load combination in which the external load is other than Class A, B, or C and has been specifically approved by the Administrator for that operation. This load combination includes human cargo. For human cargo operations, the payload which typically consists of personnel and their containment device is suspended from a hook or a similar device during all or part of a flight. The hook may be rigidly attached to the rotorcraft or may be attached to a movable hoist cable and the hoist itself rigidly attached to the rotorcraft. Typical use is for transfer of personnel to a ship. Carrying devices may transport one or more persons. Typical carrying devices are vest and straps, baskets, life preservers with straps and attachment
Section § 29.865(b) does not currently contain quick release requirements for Class D rotorcraft - load combinations, but § 133.45(e)(4) requires that a primary emergency release system control device (requiring two distinct actions) be installed on a primary control or be installed near a designated crew members station. Also, a manual quick-release system backup actuation device must be available and readily accessible.
Short haul does not just consist of hauling humans on a rope; it is subject to similar stringent regulations as hoisting. There have been many attempt in recent years to divorce 'alpine rescue' from the airworthiness requirements. This is why it should not be allowed.
The guidance for HEC - contained in AC 29-2c - are equally applicable to EASA States.
30th Apr 2012, 18:44
Interesting article (http://www.austrianwings.info/2010/01/profil-austro-control-fluginspektoren-durfen-vorerst-nicht-mehr-bei-privaten-heli-betreibern-fliegen/) for the german speakers.
Basically says that flight inspectors of the Austro Control are not allowed to fly for private companies due to conflict of interests... was reported in 2010.
30th Apr 2012, 22:48
JimL.....out of that you said....answer a question please.
Are you and/or the EASA rules saying one can attach a Short Haul Load (human beings) to a standard helicopter cargo hook?
30th Apr 2012, 23:45
tecpilot: An desk officer from the austrian aviation authority as part time pilot in the private air rescue business pressed the button and dropped the most experienced high mountain rescuer in that part of the Alps to dead. Wonder why it's allways the same helicopter operator in the headlines of Austria.
What's your point here? Or should I ask which company you work for, Wucher or ÖAMTC? Blaming the pilot and the company a few hours after the accident is nothing short of being biased and unprofessional! You do work in the same field of occupation, doing high mountain rescues, do you?
Then please explain why this so highly experienced individual that tragically lost his life didn't call the rescue off. According to the Austrian press he had never worked with that operator or that particular pilot before. He must have seen the deteriorating weather conditions and the high winds too? They all knew that at that point they were only recovering a dead body from the crevasse anyways. Was there no briefing about wind, weather, the situation in general and the "get there" options between the three guys on the line and the pilot before they decided to use the most risky insertion method? Was there no other landing option available? A safer landing site or a toe-in maybe? These rescues are team efforts and every person involved has the right and obligation to analyse the risk and speak up or call the rescue off if they have doubts. That is not only the pilots responsibility! They had many things against them and yet they decided to proceed with probably the most risky method.Why did nobody disagree and why did they not explore other ways?
And just to be clear here ... I do not know the pilot nor do I have any sympathy for a civil aviation inspector who tries to prove himself as a part time mountain rescue pilot. But, I presume he met all the requirements to do such a job, including CRM and human external load training. So what else could have been done by the helicopter operator to avoid this particular tragedy unless it was a technical malfunction that caused the accident?
Sitting at a desk, bashing at the pilot and the operator not even a day after a fatal accident is very sad indeed! But everybody who knows the helicopter business in Austria a little bit, also knows that that is common policy there and nothing else is to be expected. I don't know of any other country where operators report their competitors to the authorities like that and many pilots are led by resentment and jealousy in a way they are in the Austrian helicopter business. I'm almost surprised that you haven't started shooting each other down yet! Everywhere else in the world you might not like your competitors, but you do respect them and their pilots and you help each other out in difficult times. Maybe that's worth a thought for you!
1st May 2012, 01:19
Actually I have sympathy and would offer condolences to the family and friends of the fatally injured rescuer.
1st May 2012, 01:46
Ahm...let me refine your post. If certain Austrian operators would have the ability to use guns, and shoot the competitor then they would do it. They (competition) has been gunning at Roy Knaus since years. And a certain other operator still thinks that it has a monopoly status disregarding the competitive market, etc... So having that said; yet another unfortunate incident whereby only the pilot, and other parties involved can contribute to the account of what happened. Anything else is sheer speculation and bashing.
UVS: Heli Tirol bekommt Recht - Osttirol - Chronik - Tirol - Nachrichten | TT Online (http://www.tt.com/Tirol/4702367-2/uvs-heli-tirol-bekommt-recht.csp)
The article just shows how certain "others" see and exercise competition...
1st May 2012, 06:28
Roy Knaus, CEO and head of operation stated to the media yesterday, the decision to shuttle the rescuer by HEC under storm and fog was after all questionable. Especially for a body recovering.
Not sure what kind of briefing they have done. Knaus told the media the fatally injured was not part of his own rescue crew and he can't at the moment explain why he was allowed to fly the mission instead of the helicopter crew rescuer.
Knaus suspected it was a misunderstanding because the first name of the victim was the same as the first name from his own crew rescuer. Allegedly the pilot was not aware his own crew rescuer stayed on ground while an other was on the string.
Meantime the prosecutor opened a file. During a check up of the helicopter by the accident board no mechanical fault was found. The ship is released to operation again.
And last, i don't work for a competitor of Knaus. But after 6000h in mountain rescue i know HEC and rescue business first hand. It's is not a play ground for authority pilots trying to get some bucks and a few flight hours additionally to desk riding. But also in other austrian companies authority officers are flying part time. It's just good to have an authority pilot in the staff :mad:
In 2010 Austro Control banned the private part time flying of his officers with operators after a lot of trouble ... Interesting to see it was open again. Bet the next trouble is now on the way.
Very early for any speculation?
Reminiscent of the straight forward ground resonance event not too long ago that had 'theorists' working overtime...But it's a rumor network so why cloud the issue with objective analysis.
Condolences to the families...
1st May 2012, 10:30
Firstly I'd like to preface this by saying that I don't fly for any operator in Austria...
You are making Roy Knaus out to be hard done to but I am sure that he uses the same tactics as all his competitors in Austria. As evidence I present the FACT that he has at least one flight inspector from Austro Control working for him...
1st May 2012, 10:30
There is an article on the net, stating that the rescuers themself asked the pilot to cut the line...
Donīt find the link now....but they were showing pictures of the area, too..
Even if the statement above would be true-yes, i am still blaming the pilot-as there has been no technical defect found on the helicopter or the equipment; so it must have been a "human error".
An experienced pilot would have called this operation off BEFORE everything went wrong...
Thatīs the difference between the "old" and the "bold" pilots....
Sorry, guys.......thatīs how it looks like at the moment...
Someone had to die because another guy could not do the job he was paid for-but thought he could....
1st May 2012, 11:55
[/URL]Hueyracer, Here is one "article" about the incident.
[URL="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2137319/Freak-accident-kills-mountain-rescue-expert-attempts-save-climber-whod-plunged-150ft.html"]Freak accident kills mountain rescue expert after he attempts to save climber who'd plunged 150ft | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2137319/Freak-accident-kills-mountain-rescue-expert-attempts-save-climber-whod-plunged-150ft.html)
1st May 2012, 12:33
Yes, thatīs the article i was talking about...
But when freak high winds set in, Mr Franzekson asked the pilot, who has not been named, to release them instantly onto the craggy rock-face below, apparently not realising how high they were
I donīt know how the pilots was operating-with mirrors, VR or "only" with radio communication to the rescuers?
Either way-the investigation will (hopefully) show, what really happened...
And (hopefully) the company is going to recheck their procedures...and kick some a**s if necessary..
1st May 2012, 16:34
Dropping down rescuers by releasing the upper hooks on the helicopter is NEVER a procedure on rescue HEC operations, whatever medias are still writing. At the end of the rope is allways a ring, a metal connecting part. This metal alone accelerated by his own weight and the weight of the rope will kill instantly any person on the ground if falling down 20 or 30 meters from a helicopter right to the head of a person. On the used rope in the accident there are at least 3 metal rings, cause it was a double hook system with integrated connecting rope.
No austrian medias writing about an "ask to release" by the killed rescuer. The killed rescuer only transmitted about the hight above the ground as officials said on the press conference. Also Roy Knaus stated the Pilot released the hooks after he lost sight to prevent "something much worse".
4th May 2012, 17:51
All flags to half-mast, a sad day for mountain rescue. More than 1500 funeral guests accompanied today the burial service for KIFA air rescuer Franz Franzeskon. Austria decorated the very popular rescuer of outstanding merits postum with the Golden Medal For Merit, one of the highest decorations of Austria. A formation flight of an interior ministry helicopter and an EC 135 rescue helicopter gave a last farewell from the air.
ANY news on this sad story?
.....just read that any further investigation will NOT happen.
Ermittlungen nach Flugunfall eingestellt - tirol.ORF.at (http://tirol.orf.at/news/stories/2568218/)
Conclusion: Pilot "did the right thing" - reaction understandable, after loosing control in fog (well, he got away just fine with the helicopter, didn't he!)
.....propably one of the perks if you work for Austrocontrol...
23rd Jan 2013, 03:42
Sorry to hear that...
Without having been there-and with only the information from the media, i find this pilot "guilty" of killing the guys on the hoist by doing stupid things (the kind of stuff you usually learn to avoid BEFORE getting in)..:ugh:
23rd Jan 2013, 07:19
Huey - to quote you:
<<Without having been there-and with only the information from the media, i find this pilot "guilty" of killing the guys on the hoist>>
Well that's a reliable and well founded basis for justice in a modern society! :ugh:
23rd Jan 2013, 07:52
We have discussed this often enough-this is a rumor network; a place where PROFESSIONAL (and not so professional) aviators share their opinion.
I am not a judge, nor am i a lawyer......i just say that-from what i HEARD about this accident (and i have heard more than the stuff published here in the forum, as i know some of the guys down there), the pilot did something wrong.
When you get into shitty weather-you did something wrong beforehand-but shit happens.
To kill people that are hanging beneath your helicopter by just flicking a switch (to counteract your poor decision making before)-thatīs wrong...
23rd Jan 2013, 10:28
This happens with Pilots (Flightinspector) from Austro Control !?!?!?!?!?:ugh::E
23rd Jan 2013, 13:21
Is it true, that a very high experienced pilot from ÖAMTC cancelled the mission due to weather conditions???
Next call was to Knaus and he did it????:eek:
As always, one should not jump to conclusions based on hear-saying and media reports only.
In this case however, the very basics are all wrong:
a- "Highly experienced" pilot with what - 2600 hrs??
b- Part-time pilot
c- Procedure basics: you NEVER release personnel from the hook (...and I am not a experienced rescue pilot, I let those continue the long list of rescue wrongs.....)
d- If the professionals (Christopherus pilots) cancel, because of the environment, one should SERIOUSLY think about staying on the ground too!
As it looks like the investigating inspectors and state attorneys are all experts too in this case [....possibly they could not find any REAL experts??] and obviously the investigation came to a "logic" conclusion - nothing more to say - let it go already!!
No matter, that the actual accident is rather just secondary (no less fatal though) - it is the chain of a wrong set-up and wrong decisions that led to it.
[Obviously, if the pilot was not low time, part time, in-experienced (...in rescue and rescue procedures) this would have never happened.....
Not to say he could not have gained experience at this level of hours, but no one seemed to care about proper training and introduction into the operation.
[Probably no time for this - .....as an inspector he is most likely too busy]
Off the box,
23rd Jan 2013, 16:34
The rings we use weigh 365 grams each, there are three of them
Those rings falling 150 feet is not going to kill somone wearing a helmet. If it hit them its going to leave a nice welt, possibly beak some of the weaker bones if it contacted them.
I find it ironic that just a month ago there was a HEC accident where (from the sound of things) the lineman could have been saved if the pilot DID have the ability to realease him, and now after some of the same people saying there should be no means of realease nor no practical means of release.
There should be a means of release, on the flight controls protected against inadvertant release by double actions. If the pilot went IIMC or got LTE and started spinning and the rescuer did in fact ask to be released the pilot did the right thing at that point in cutting him loose.
Essentially he relied on the rescuers judgement that he was in a position to land without serious injury.
Whether the pilot (or the company) did the right things getting into that situation is a different point entirely. From the sound of things, they did not.
23rd Jan 2013, 16:41
and now after some of the same people saying there should be no means of realease nor no practical means of release
Nobody is saying anything like this-youīre reading something into it, that is not there.
Just keep in mind:
This was NOT a "rescue mission".
It was the recovery of a (already dead) body.....
23rd Jan 2013, 17:35
"That in itself tells it all.....when one strings human beings from the helicopter....you should remove the ability to release the load by any other means than say manually operated bolt cutters or a big sharp knife or axe!"
Doesn't take much reading into, its a fairly overt statement.
That being said I agree ith much of his post, just not that statement.
I've had this argument many times with many people, and I have heard many say no means of emergency release is neccesary, That "I'm not releasing him not matter what".
To me that is unwise, there are just too many situations where realsing the guy on the end of the rope is the best chance he has.
Reasonable minds can disagree, and I know there are plenty of both sides of this fence, But thats my .02
23rd Jan 2013, 17:45
Pilot aquitted of all charges and found not guilty by a jury. Expert witness testified in pilots favor. Very interesting ruling considering other pilots with similar accidents have been dragged through the mud by authorities. Well, maybe the outcome has something to do with the pilots association with the Austrian Aviation Authority known as Austro Control?
Once more the Austrians have proven to the rest of the world why they are the laughing stock of helicopter aviation!
23rd Jan 2013, 18:15
Already, In the US it would be 2-3 years before a jury trial....
23rd Jan 2013, 18:59
Let me correct my last statement, did some more research. Charges were dropped due to an "expert" witnesses testimony where he states that 'any pilot with similar experience level would have reacted the same way!' Apparently in Austria this is grounds enough to drop charges?!?!?!
Guess the lesson learned is hire inexperienced low timers because they will not be held accountable for their actions.
24th Jan 2013, 02:03
Why are the Austrians the laughing stock of the aviation community? Do you think that it is better anywhere else? What about the US HEMS industry where already three fatal accidents have occurred in the first week of the new year, and nobody, I stress NOBODY is willing to step up to deal with safety concerns and improve the standards. So who is the laughing stock?
Take your business and antics to kindergarten. Maybe a preschooler is willing to listen to your drool!
24th Jan 2013, 03:27
Dear Sir, my comments are not directed towards Austrian pilots, I just tried to highlight the corruption and incompetence within Austro Control. Conflict of interest and prejudice is of no concern at this agency.
Why so angry? Did I hit a nerve? Unless you are a member of the good old boys club at Austro Control this shouldn't affect you at all.
However I find it quite amusing to see you point out that US EMS operators crash even more than Austrians do. Well, I guess everything is ok then?, at least by your standard.
24th Jan 2013, 05:29
really, the Austrians are the laughing stock of the aviation community.
This sad accident is a chain of mistakes, embarrassments and broken rules and they dropped the charge due to this funny expert testimony?
I would really like to know why a desk flying CAA flight inspector made some bucks in one of his own to be controlled companies? His HEC experience was limited. I would like to know why the mountain police officer acted on the mission as HCM while HEC, prohibited by flight regulations in Austria and why the pilot leaved the well trained and HEC experienced HCM on ground? Did the HCM refuse the crazy mission? :=
A lot of questions about the mission and it seems they will stay without answers.
24th Jan 2013, 09:35
Why don't you point in one direction? It is generalized that every pilot is the laughing stock in Austria - that is how I interpret this post. The corruption within Austro Control is debatable. However, do not generalize, and state that everyone is the laughing stock. And by the way, what the heck does it mean "by my standards"? I have been around long enough TO HAVE A STANDARD - that is why I am still "around."
So therefore I suggest to get to Vienna into the 3rd district, and clean up this mess.
25th Jan 2013, 08:17
Someone wrapped it up rather quick and put a lid on it like it never happened. Interesting :hmm:
No worries Sherpa,
...this happened with Knaus - just another sad episode, but impossible to forget....