Accident at LAC LA BICHE AB (CYLB)
2003-08-07: The pilot of C-GPHR, an AS 350 helicopter, was conducting forest fire suppression with 2 firefighters on board. The a/c was operating northeast of Lac La Biche when the cockpit filled with smoke. The pilot did an emergency landing and it was discovered that there was a fire in the right baggage compartment. The occupants extinguished the fire and were later flown back to Lac La Biche in another helicopter. C-GPHR was ferried to Lac La Biche where it was assessed as being unserviceable and it will be trucked to the company's base in Prince George. TSB investigators in Edmonton will examine it when it reaches there. Initial indication is that a shorted fuse holder underneath the battery on the right side of the baggage area ignited the fire, which was fed by oily rags and clothing.
2003-08-08: UPDATE TSB reported that the Vancouver Island Helicopters Ltd. Aerospatiale AS350 B2, C-GPHR, had lifted off after picking up a crew working a fire east of Lac La Biche. The pilot noticed smoke entering the cabin, and checked the instruments, but no abnormal indications were noticed. As the smoke increased in intensity, the pilot realized that he could not return to the helipad, therefore, he called in an emergency to the firebase and landed on a pipeline cleared area. After evacuating the passengers, the pilot found that a number of items in the RH cargo compartment were burning, and removed the baggage while extinguishing the fire in the compartment. There were no injuries, but the helicopter was substantially damaged. Initiation of the fire appears to have been a damaged/shorted fuseholder for the essential buss/engine Ng indication. The TSB examined the helicopter while it was in Edmonton and they have sent the Fuse Holder to the TSB lab in Ottawa and expect to have results back Sept. 15th. They are researching previous chafing and/or shorting that might have been recorded in the aircraft's records. They are interested in some other conditions that may have caused the short other than 'baggage contact' i.e. that it had been broken and shorted. A pair of blue jeans is thought to have spread the fire. Two writing pens melted and had bonded to the fuse cap. TSB reports that the operator is looking into why the fuse holder was mounted under the battery, as it was to have been mounted vertically above the battery.
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Aircraft Details (1 aircraft)
|Canadian Registration||| Flightaware (Registration) | Flightaware (Tracking) | AvHerald|
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