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Tail Rotor kills hospital employee

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Tail Rotor kills hospital employee

Old 5th Mar 2015, 18:21
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Thumbs down Tail Rotor kills hospital employee

A 53 year old man died today in an accident involving a DRF rescue helicopter at a Stuttgart Hospital helipad. The hospital employee, who had been waiting at the edge of the rooftop heli pad, approached the helicopter shortly after it touched down and made contact with the still spinning tail rotor. Accident investigation under way.

Klinik-Mitarbeiter stirbt bei Unfall mit Rettungshubschrauber » rettungsdienst.de (German)
Stuttgart-Mitte: Hubschrauberrotor verletzt Mann tödlich - Stuttgart-Mitte - Stuttgarter Zeitung (German)
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Old 5th Mar 2015, 23:36
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Unhappy RIP

RIP so sad to hear, when this could have been avoided simply by hanging the Tail-Rotor off over the ledge??

Last edited by Vertical Freedom; 6th Mar 2015 at 02:52.
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Old 5th Mar 2015, 23:55
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VF,

Hanging the 'tail rotor' over the edge is not a normal practice on EMS pads, especially with a BK117 where the stretcher has to be wheeled out of the clamshell doors under the tail boom. There are safety procedures in place to prevent this sort of accident; no doubt it will transpire that the procedures were not followed or modified in some way to allow the deceased to come near a rotating tail rotor/fenestron.

Indeed if it was a BK117 then the tail rotor is usually too high to be contacted by any but a very tall person.
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Old 6th Mar 2015, 00:20
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Denis Wagner - Landeplätze in Deutschland


Heliport Katharinenhospital Stuttgart, Germany, BW - Helicopter Landing Pads on Waymarking.com



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Old 6th Mar 2015, 07:47
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Indeed if it was a BK117 then the tail rotor is usually too high to be contacted by any but a very tall person.
According to a German EMS forum it was D-HDDD, a DRF BK-117 acting as "Christoph 51", an intensive care helicopter based in Stuttgart. With the tail rotor on that one being as high as it is it either takes a very tall person as you say - or a deliberate action. I wouldn't be surprised
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Old 6th Mar 2015, 07:57
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The Flight Manual gives 1.894m/6ft 2.5 inches clearance to the bottom of the tail rotor disc on a flat surface
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Old 6th Mar 2015, 08:47
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Thanks John; ssumed BK-117 would be similar to the approx. 2m ground clearance on the EC-145. Maybe not that much intention required then
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Old 6th Mar 2015, 09:39
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Sadly, more like inattention.
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Old 6th Mar 2015, 16:26
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We have a practice at my program of utilizing a nurse as a tail guard for every landing. During scene calls, they clear the tail and then designate someone (police, fire, etc.) to take over tail watch. At hospital helipads, the RN always provides tail watch in all but very rare circumstances (Pt. actively coding in the back, etc.)
I would like to think that these practices could have averted this incident, though we all know how nothing is 100% and accidents will happen ( i make that statement with grain of salt however. i think that we can have an accident free industry, we just have to employ safe practices and maintain vigilance.). I would like to think though that most programs practice a tail watch/guard in their daily operations. If not, its something to think about. Even just having a nurse yell and motion to remain clear or retreat is usually sufficient when an incident such as this appears imminent.
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Old 6th Mar 2015, 18:08
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So you have the procedure to prevent this happening and it obviously don't work. Adopting VF's procedure ensures it is impossible to happen. You cannot either accidently of "on purpose" get any where near the tail rotor. So loading/unloading is a bit more difficult, so what?
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Old 6th Mar 2015, 18:16
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GT I suspect the issue with the 117/145, is that if you do as VF suggests, then when you take the casualty out of the back, you'll drop them over the edge ( as more eloquenly put by John Eacott!
(Not sure how easy it is to get the casualty out of the side door)!

Last edited by handysnaks; 6th Mar 2015 at 18:18. Reason: To acknowledge that John Eacott got ther first��
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Old 6th Mar 2015, 18:24
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Damned if you do, damned if you don't. But I do see the safety benefits of side doors now. I mean really, who would design a helicopter with rear loading doors that lead loaders into the tail rotor?
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Old 6th Mar 2015, 18:31
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Which is why Australian practice is to shut down before loading or unloading, regardless of helicopter type.
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Old 6th Mar 2015, 20:22
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I suspect the issue with the 117/145, is that if you do as VF suggests, then when you take the casualty out of the back, you'll drop them over the edge
Looking at the second vid above, it seems as though the tail rotor is over the 'netting' and the clam shell doors are still able to be utilised, although the angle could make it look more over than it is and they had shut down.
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Old 7th Mar 2015, 07:39
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Noticed the tail boom has signage NOTARZT,

Looked that up to see what the translation was,
Emergency specialist.

Just wondering if the guy that lost his life had worked with MD NOTAR machines.
RIP
RW
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Old 7th Mar 2015, 09:07
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Which is why Australian practice is to shut down before loading or unloading, regardless of helicopter type.
This is also standard procedure in german HEMS operations.

skadi
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Old 7th Mar 2015, 11:10
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Angel

Rarely is a shut-down on a Rescue every done here; rotors left running under an CAAN approved SOP & in the Ops Man.

In a crowd, a city, even a fooball field a shut-down makes good safety sense, on a remote mountain landing spot, with questionable weather & if You can hang the TR, then makes more sense to not shut-down; proved stable. idle, locked, load & escape......
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Old 7th Mar 2015, 16:44
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@VF: little excursion from a paramedic: this has to do with a different approach in German (H)EMS compared to most other places:

Many other countries worldwide like e.g. the US practice a "Load & Go" scheme in their EMS. The doctrine dictates that the patient is to be transferred without any undue delay to the nearest trauma center where a trauma surgeon or other required appropriate specialist is available. That means the paramedics / nurses intubate, immobilize, collect any astray limbs or other bodyparts and then go. Anything else that needs to be done has to be done in flight or postponed to hospital. Turn-around time on site is somewhere between 5-10 minutes at a prepared scene.

German doctrine is "Stay and Play": we have an emergency physician based EMS system (that's the "NOTARZT" = emergency physician) where the idea is to bring the doctor and the hospital care to the patient. I.e. we stabilize the patient as much as possible prior to transport, full treatment can be performed on the road side / in the ambulance prior to boarding the helicopter. Time on scene can thus easily become 20 minutes to half an hour.
So if you leave your rotor running for that long everyone around you is deaf, you're out of fuel and the scene became more hazardous, too.
Simply no gain.
And hanging the tail rotor over a ledge requires ledges and helicopters that can fit a stretcher through the side doors, neither of which is particularly common in ze fazerland !

Cheers

Last edited by Hawkeye0001; 7th Mar 2015 at 17:00.
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