Kamov KA-32 helicopter crashes while fighting wildfire in B.C.

Kamov 32 at Loulé heliport in Portugal
Kamov KA-32 at Loulé heliport in Portugal, similar to the one that crashed in B.C. Sunday. Photo by Bill Gabbert, August 29, 2012.

A Russian-built Kamov KA-32 helicopter made a crash landing in British Columbia Sunday, August 4. Jen Norie of VIH Aviation Group confirmed that one of their helicopters was conducting water dropping operations on a wildfire near Bella Colla, British Columbia using an external bucket when the aircraft developed an engine problem. The ship made a hard landing on uneven terrain collapsing at least one landing gear, which caused the aircraft to tip over about 30 degrees. The twin overhead counter-rotating main rotors struck the ground, which of course destroyed them.

Thankfully the two pilots walked away with no injuries, so in that sense it was a “good landing”. There were no passengers on board.

Ms. Norie said the company has been operating KA-32s since the mid-1990s, accumulating over 46,000 flight hours without a major incident, until Sunday.

3 thoughts on “Kamov KA-32 helicopter crashes while fighting wildfire in B.C.”

  1. Cadors: 2013P1171

    Occurence Summary Narrative:
    “UPDATE TSB Report A13P0163: The VIH Helicopter Kamov KA32A11BC, Registeration C-GKHL, s/n (31594)8891/03, was carring out fire supression operation with a water bucket. Just after lifting a load of water out of a high level mountain lake, there was a bang and the helicopter began to shake violently. The flying pilot headed the helicopter to an emergency landing site, while the non-flying pilot released the external load (line and bucket) with difficulty. They could not get the helicopter to point in the direction they were tracking and while there were no caution lights the shaking was such that they could not see the instrument displays. The helicopter contacted the ground going sideways and rolled on its starboard side. The main-rotor blades contacted the ground and broke. The crew was able to shut the engines off and exit with minor injuries. There was no fire.”

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