PKBWL report – accident, helicopter AS 350 B3e (F-HCHB), Rogoźnik Lake, 23/05/2022

On 23 May 2022, an Eurocopter AS350B3e helicopter with registration marks FHCHB took part in the fire-fighting operation for a forest fire which broke out in the municipality of Świerklaniec. The helicopter would take water from the nearby Rogoźnik Lake and transport it in its underslung bambi bucket. After performing 8 water drops, the helicopter collided with the surface of the lake while refilling the bambi bucket. The pilot sustained minor injuries and got out of the sinking wreckage on his own. The helicopter was destroyed.

Causes and contributing factors:
1) Hovering over water, as a result of which the tail rotor came into contact with the lake surface, most likely caused by a human factor: a temporary
inattention and/or delayed pilot’s reaction to the helicopter drifting.
2) Likely fatigue after performing several fire-fighting flights on the day of the occurrence, hurry in carrying out the fire-fighting operation. 
3) Focus-intensive control of the helicopter in hover, which was additionally hindered by the swell of the lake surface cause by the downwash and the underslung heavy water container. 

Read the final report.

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