FAA

Helicopter Crash into Lake Havasu, Ariz. Leaves Two Injured

Investigators will attempt to determine the cause of an October 27, 2012 helicopter crash into Lake Havasu, Arizona. The Robinson R22 helicopter was pulled from the water and will be used to reconstruct the events of the accident.

The $180,000 helicopter flipped upside down into Lake Havasu in northwestern Arizona after turning- southbound and abruptly losing altitude. When the skids +made contact with the water, the helicopter flipped into the water upside down. The pilot may have been attempting a water landing due to sudden mechanical issues with the aircraft.

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office says that 40-year-old Phoenix Resident, Michael Robert Christiansen, was the pilot of the helicopter. He and one passenger, Michael Rabo, were on an aerial photography flight, shooting pictures of boats on the lake.

Christensen and Rabo both made it out of the water unhurt. They were rescued by boaters in the area.

Accident Under FAA and NTSB Investigation

FAATwo companies, Sea Tow and Dive Time, were used to help pull the wreckage from the lake. These two companies work together on salvage operations in and around Lake Havasu. The accident is now being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The salvage operation took over six hours and required six men to help haul the vehicle out of the water. The helicopter went down in 30 feet of water and was upside down. The crew used lift bags to float the vehicle to the surface. The helicopters tail has not been found.

Details of the escape from Christensen and Rabo are harrowing. The impact of the helicopter on the water shattered the front windshield. The pilot and passenger blacked out and when they came to, the helicopter was already submerged. The two were able to unfasten their safety harnesses and swim out of the wreckage to the surface.

The pilot states that the plane possibly experienced mechanical failure before striking the water. While the cause of the crash has yet to be determined, Trish Carter of the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation was ongoing.