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Report: Helicopter pilot didn't see power lines before crash

MILFORD TOWNSHIP, Ohio (AP) — Federal authorities say the pilot of a medical helicopter says he didn’t see power lines before the main rotor blades hit them and the aircraft crashed while responding to the scene of a fatal accident in southwestern Ohio last month.

The CareFlight helicopter was requested just before 5 a.m. on July 26 at the scene of the crash of two pickup trucks in Milford Township in Butler County. The county sheriff’s office said the aircraft operated by Air Methods was approaching the scene when it crashed into the power lines and went down. No one aboard was seriously injured.

According to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot said he asked for information about the crash site when he was about nine miles away and was told the there were high voltage wires on the south side, the Dayton Daily News reported.

The pilot said he saw the electrical tower but didn’t know which direction wires ran away from it, and he couldn’t find the wires even with night goggles or after moving the landing light up and down, the report said. He said he ultimately decided that the wires were further out from the landing zone and descended, the report said.

The three crew members had minor injuries and the helicopter was had “substantial” damage, the report said. A Federal Aviation Administration inspector said the main rotor blades were snapped in half and the gearbox and mounts fractured. Capt. Morgan Dallman of the county sheriff’s office said two cruisers were damaged, one by debris and another by falling power lines, the Dayton Daily News reported. No firefighters or officers were injured.

Authorities said a 69-year-old woman from Richmond, Indiana, was pronounced dead at the scene of the vehicle accident. A 43-year-old woman was also hospitalized with serious injuries and two other people were being treated for undisclosed minor injuries. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.