Helicopter crashes

By From page A1 | August 04, 2014

A helicopter crash near the Rubicon Trail left at least two people injured Friday afternoon.

The helicopter crashed at about 1 p.m., an El Dorado County Sheriff’s press release stated. Deputies “assigned to the trail patrol arrived on scene and verified a downed helicopter near the area of Buck Island Lake, which is approximately seven miles from Loon Lake.” The area is only accessible by hiking, off-road vehicles and helicopters. 

Calstar 6 responded. One victim had a head injury while another had an ankle injury. Both were being taken to a Reno, Nev., hospital.

The FAA had already been notified.

The helicopter was owned by Heli-Flite Inc. of Riverside and was registered to Heli-Flite in April 2007. This particular helicopter was built in 1979. The helicopter is an Aerospatiale (French) AS350D, known as the Astar.  The model’s first flight dates back to 1974. It is still in production. Cost for a new one is about $2 million. It holds six people. Maximum weight is 4,950 pounds. It has a Turbomeca (French) 847 hp turboshaft engine (same as turboprop). Max cruise speed is 152 mph, it’s range is about 400 miles. It is 36 feet long with a rotor diameter of 35 feet.

Three recent accidents involving this model of helicopter included March 18 an Astar flying for KOMO and King-TV in Seattle on takeoff from a rooftop of KOMO studios. Two on board and one person on the ground were killed. On Oct. 22, 2013, an Astar medivac crashed in Somerville, Tenn., killing all five aboard. On March 31, 2013, an Astar owned by the Alaskan State troopers crashed near Talkeetna, Alaska, killing three on board. They were on a rescue mission of an injured snowmobiler.

Larry Weitzman contributed to this report.

Cole Mayer

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