Lack of standard power line markings led to a helicopter colliding with wires near Sept-Îles, Quebec, in May 2014
Dorval, Quebec, 13 August 2015 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A14Q0060) into the 13 May 2014 collision with wires involving a Eurocopter AS 350 BA helicopter north of Sept-Îles, Quebec. Both occupants of the helicopter were seriously injured.
The helicopter, operated by Héli-Boréal inc., with one pilot and a Hydro-Québec employee aboard, was on a flight to inspect vegetation encroachment along a power distribution line. While completing a right turn in a valley, the pilot noticed a larger power transmission line crossing perpendicular to the direction of flight. The pilot immediately turned right to avoid a collision; but one of the helicopter's main rotor blades struck one of the cables. While attempting an emergency landing in a nearby small clearing, the helicopter's skids impacted trees. The helicopter then rolled left and fell 50 feet through the trees, coming to rest on its left side. The two people aboard were able exit the helicopter, but sustained serious injuries. The helicopter was destroyed.
The investigation found that the power distribution line being surveyed did not have Hydro Quebec's standard triangular markings to warn the pilot of the upcoming intersection with a transmission line. The opportunity for the pilot to see the upcoming power line intersection in sufficient time to avoid the collision was reduced because the helicopter was following the distribution line around a hill. The investigation also found that deficiencies related to the collection and distribution of air navigation information adds risks to flight safety.
Following this occurrence, NAV CANADA clarified how aeronautical information products are to be used, and is working with Hydro-Québec to ensure accurate data regarding the location of power lines. For its part, Héli-Boréal inc. improved training for power line inspection flights.
The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.
For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
- Date modified: