CH146432 Griffon- From the Investigator

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Report / February 28, 2018 / Project number: CH146432- D Category

Location: Opa Locka, Florida
Date: 2018-02-28
Status: Investigation Ongoing

The six person crew was operating the 424 Squadron CH146432 Griffon helicopter (search and rescue configuration) out of Opa-Locka airport, near Miami, Florida, as part of Ex Southern Breeze. During the winter months, search and rescue crews travel to Florida to conduct overwater training that cannot be accomplished at the home unit. The mission was a training flight for an under-training flight engineer consisting of mostly overwater hoisting work.

Approaching the Opa-Locka airport control zone after the mission, the crew had commenced the pre-landing checks when the life raft inadvertently departed the aircraft. The raft was visually tracked by the instructor flight engineer as it fell from approximately 500 feet above ground level and was seen to impact the roof of a house. The crew circled the helicopter back overhead the house to mark its location, then continued to the airport for landing.

The incident was reported to local police who assisted the crew in recovering the life raft from the house. There were minor injuries sustained by an occupant of the house, and the house sustained damage to the roof and a bedroom. There were no injuries to the crew or damage to the aircraft.

The investigation is focusing on how equipment is secured in the aircraft during flight.

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