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2022-03-05: Derriford Hospital: Woman dies in helicopter landing incident

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2022-03-05: Derriford Hospital: Woman dies in helicopter landing incident

Old 5th Mar 2022, 15:47
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
Derriford Hospital's helipad is surrounded on two sides by public roads and on the other two by the hospital car park, having been moved in 2015 from a previous location not usable at night.




It would be interesting to see the risk assessment that would no doubt have been done at the time.
It would indeed. No mention of what the incoming flight was for. The use of Medivac helicopters in the US is out of control. Seems 50 % of operations are non critical patient transport from facility A to facility B.
We had a crash in CO a few years ago in a hospital parking lot. The chopper was headed to a demo at a Boy Scout Camp.
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Old 5th Mar 2022, 19:05
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Originally Posted by nevillestyke
Nice big airfield available, only 600yds from the helipad.
If TallSAR were here I expect he could enlighten us on that matter.
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Old 5th Mar 2022, 19:09
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Or this might work better.

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Old 5th Mar 2022, 19:59
  #24 (permalink)  

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Tragic all round. As well as the relatives of the deceased and the injured person, I can well imagine that the helicopter crew will be devastated by this.
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Old 5th Mar 2022, 20:09
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Originally Posted by nevillestyke
Nice big airfield available, only 600yds from the helipad.
Is that the 'nice big airfield' which was shut in 2011?
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Old 5th Mar 2022, 20:51
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Devon and Cornwall Police said it was continuing to investigate the incident at Derriford Hospital on Friday.

The "down draft" from the landing helicopter caused the woman, from Plymouth, to be blown over, the force added.
That's very unkind. There was no need whatsoever for more force to be added, given the circumstances.
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Old 5th Mar 2022, 22:38
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Yes, shut.

Originally Posted by Bravo73
Is that the 'nice big airfield' which was shut in 2011?
Mothballed but plenty of open space to have a landing site, with no pedestrians. You could have a helipad there, if it wasn't so desirable for housing development.
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Old 5th Mar 2022, 23:00
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Seems an exceptionally tight spot shoehorned into the hospital car park some time around 2015. I wonder what controls around it they have when aircraft arrive or depart. Notably the closest point on the public road, hard up against the helipad, is a bicycle lane, wonder if anyone put two and two together when that was designed.
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 00:04
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Originally Posted by nevillestyke
Nice big airfield available, only 600yds from the helipad.
Around 10 minutes pushing a gurney.
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 10:46
  #30 (permalink)  
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Sad event.

Sorting out a safe distance from a rotor for wash is an interesting analysis. Doing a measurement of flow from an established hover is straightforward. Add winds, and that becomes a bit more interesting, with T/R interactions. But that isn't the highest flows that can occur from the rotor. Taking a deceleration into a hover if done at heavy weights, and with any tailwind will generally give a large amount of recirculation through the rotor disk, as the ground effect comes into play. I would think that could exceed the steady-state hover outflow velocities that are developed from the added inflows from recirculation. The hover case could achieve the same sort of outflows as the deceleration case if there are features that result in increased recirculation. For picking up into the hover, the ground effect starts off as a benefit reducing the power required but dissipates the higher the hover becomes. The increase in power required to commence translation in zero wind is less than 5% last time I looked. Power required is a 5th order polynomial for the hover through translation to Vne, and I guess it is for the decelerating case as well, except that the power requirement in the deceleration has a larger spike from steady-state compared to entering ETL in acceleration. Just a musing, but it suggests that doing an evaluation of a rotor wake effect HLS THA for pedestrians, tarps, etc is probably more arbitrary than an exact science. A downwind, confined space with buildings modifying the outflow would probably give quite a lot of additional wash.

Still a sad event
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 17:39
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On a scheduled arrival one could have the police or fire brigade in attendance . Should not be too difficult to arrange in this day and age. Worked for us in the 80's.
We called that teamwork.
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 17:54
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It doesnít take much for an elderly person in their 80ís to fall over. There are many fall related fatalities or serious injuries that occur at home, before you even consider the contribution downwash can make.
Before leaping to conclusions, this may have been avoidable or it may just be very bad luck.
How many people pay attention to level crossings? I doubt a helipad would be treated with much more attention.
You canít protect everyone, all the time. Some times people have to take responsibility for themselves.
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 17:58
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Police presence might be adequate for the public road; the large car park that wraps around the helipad (out of which it was fashioned) would be more difficult for them to manage. Apparently one of the serious casualties was injured by their parked car door being violently blown back against them as they got in or out.

Last edited by WHBM; 6th Mar 2022 at 18:12.
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 18:38
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Originally Posted by thechopper
On a scheduled arrival one could have the police or fire brigade in attendance . Should not be too difficult to arrange in this day and age. Worked for us in the 80's.
We called that teamwork.
Since then the walls of the silos have been elevated and reinforced by a hundred million pages of risk assessments and gdpr policy.
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Old 7th Mar 2022, 01:03
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What a surprise - I guessed that a 100 foot radius would be easily safe. It's 100 foot from the center of the pad to the main road. It's 150 feet from the pad to the hospital access road. It's 50 feet to the cars.

Thank goodness they saved a few dozen parking spaces and it only cost one woman her life.

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Old 7th Mar 2022, 03:26
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Melbourne's The Alfred helipad had three pedestrian incidents, and following this one a further two were identified at other sites. All 3 at The Alfred involved an AW139.

ATSB Report AB-2021-028

What happened

On 28 October 2021 at about 1550 local time, an AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter was conducting a landing at The Alfred hospital helipad, with two crew on board. The crew approached the helipad from the west, using a steep approach profile aligned with Commercial Road.

During the approach, a pedestrian walking along Commercial Road, about 50 m west of the helipad, was blown over by rotor wash from the helicopter which resulted in serious injuries. The pedestrian was taken to The Alfred hospital for treatment.

The helicopter crew were unaware that downwash from the landing had resulted in any injury to the pedestrian.

The Alfred helicopter landing site is located on an elevated platform approximately 8 m above Commercial Road, a publicly accessible thoroughfare with both vehicular and foot traffic. This design is unique in Australia, exposing public vehicles and pedestrians to the possibility of helicopter downwash on landing.

The ATSB has received reports of 5 rotor wash events at various hospital helicopter landing sites since 2016. Of these, 3 occurred at The Alfred hospital helicopter landing site and all involved AW139 helicopters.

Safety action

The operator immediately ceased operations to The Alfred hospital helicopter landing site following the incident. Before re-commencing operations at the helipad, the operator:
  • reduced the maximum number of helicopters on the helipad from two to one, removing the requirement to hover taxi away from the centre of the helipad
  • implemented pedestrian marshalling procedures for all helicopter movements, so that operations will only occur when no pedestrians are within 30 m of the helipad.
Further, The Alfred hospital has engaged a helipad consultant to review the design of the helipad.

Safety message

Helicopters produce significant main rotor downwash, especially during hover taxi, take-off and while approaching to land. It is important that the risk of downwash related injuries, either by direct exposure or by being struck by loose items, be assessed prior to using a helicopter landing site (HLS).

As pilots have limited ability to reduce rotor downwash during these phases of flight, securing loose items in the vicinity of the HLS and keeping people a safe distance away are the most effective ways of preventing injury.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.

Last edited by John Eacott; 7th Mar 2022 at 07:43. Reason: Too trivial to worry about
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Old 7th Mar 2022, 08:40
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​​​​​​An awful outcome for all involved, the loss of an innocent life and serious injury to another whilst well intentioned people were attempting to help another is a cruel irony.
As mentioned in an earlier post, it's a fair bet that the SAR/Helimed crew have not been sleeping too well since.

​​​Fit for purpose comes to mind - surely seasoned helicopter operators, aero dynamicists and engineers should have a say when it comes to platform design, just because there's a bit of a gap doesn't mean it's a good place to thump a powerful helicopter down onto.

Ref. DaveR's post showing the "no landings after dark" notice, although not directly relevant to this horrible situation, it illustrates that warning notices are plastered all over everything now, so much so that people are either oblivious to them or simply can't be bothered to read them; they only serve as arse covering for the service providers/operators.

A number of years ago a study (can't quote the source) concluded that so many people were wearing hi-viz that the impact was lost.
I can't help but think we are in the same situation with warning signs and labels.

There should be nobody (some military excepted out of operational needs, although there is under normal circumstances familiarity training given), without aviation or aero engineering knowledge to be exposed to the risks presented by being close to a powered aircraft of any description while still in turning and burning mode.

Platform positioning and design seems to be the devil in this sad tale.

​​​​​
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Old 7th Mar 2022, 09:19
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Originally Posted by Bravo73
Is that the 'nice big airfield' which was shut in 2011?
Did the hospital build the pad in 2015 precisely because the adjacent airfield was closed in 2011 ?
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Old 7th Mar 2022, 10:50
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Royal Cornwall Hospital at Truro at has a process in place using security personnel to limit public exposure to movements on the small pad adjacent to ED, while S92 use the larger pad on the outskirts of the site where there is much less public footfall, followed by ambulance transfer.

Last edited by diginagain; 7th Mar 2022 at 11:01.
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Old 7th Mar 2022, 16:58
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We used to land at the airfield and be met by an ambulance to transfer the casualty to Derriford - not too much of a faff and it was because the previous HLS at the hospital was too small for Sea King and close to the hospital buildings.

Having an HLS in the middle of a car park is sadly too common as the income from the car parks is so important to the hospitals.

Having security on hand to marshal traffic and pedestrians when a large helo is inbound isn't rocket science and other hospitals manage it.

My thoughts are with the SAR crew, a horrendous ending to what was probably a rewarding SAROp. They were just doing their job which normally involves the saving of life.
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