The helicopter landed hard from an altitude of about 15 feet and slid about 8 to 10 feet. Both skids were spread apart and broken and the helicopter came to rest on its fuselage. Both tail rotor blades separated and the vertical stabilizer was damaged. There was some buckling of the fuselage. The tail boom and main rotor blades appeared to be undamaged, and there was no discernible tail strike.
Force landing after striking power lines. Wire strike system successfully cut cables and helicopter landed safely. This report suggests that the helicopter was flying at 80-100 ft altitude, and thus the crew “were acting outside the scope of their employment and in violation of Federal Aviation Regulations, company operational specifications and policies.”
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot’s failure to maintain aircraft control during initial takeoff climb resulting in an uncontrolled descent and impact with terrain. A contributing factor was the pilot’s encounter in settling with power.