Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 67-17149
The Army purchased this helicopter 0168
Total flight hours at this point: 00000642
Incident number: 680908091ACD Accident case number: 680908091 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 155 AHC
The station for this helicopter was Ban Me Thuot in South Vietnam
Number killed in accident = 6 . . Injured = 2 . . Passengers = 4
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Army Aviation Safety Center database. Also: OPERA (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory
AC WO1 KOPPEL REDLICK SIMS KIA
P WO1 HARWOOD WILLIAM PHILLIP KIA
CE E5 GW LECOUNT
G W1 DW HACKER
Passengers and/or other participants:
BGEN AN TRUONG QUANG, ARVN, PX, KIA
CIV AN DUONG THI KIM, NURSE, PX, KIA
COL SAGE REX RUSSELL, AR, PX, KIA
MSG BARNARD THOMAS WALTER, AR, PX, KIA
The aircraft was on a VIP flight from Ban Me Thout to Duc Lap, Vietnam. On a direct route from Ban Me Thuot to destination at 2000 AGL, a loss of power occurred while WO1 Harwood was at the controls. Loud popping and grinding noises from the transmission/engine area were heard by the gunner and crew chief simultaneously with the loss of power. Immediately, the aircraft commander WO Koppel, took control of the aircraft simultaneously initiating a mayday call and an autorotation. At this time the left cargo door was opened but the right cargo door was left closed. MSG Barnard had a PRC-25 fm radio on board and was making a call. With absolutely no forced landing areas to autorotate into, the aircraft commander was forced to land into 200 foot trees and extremely dense foliage. The autorotation was terminated with zero airspeed at tree top level causing the helicopter to fall straight through the trees. Upon nearing the ground the aircraft turned on its left side and hit the ground with the left front first. The tail boom remained intact but was severed from the fuselage. The main rotor and transmission were still in place. Upon contacting the ground, the gunner broke the window out of the right cargo door and pulled himself out. It appeared that all personnel in the cargo compartment were unconscious. The gunner attempted to pull the General out through the window of the cargo door but his attempt failed. He then went forward to the right pilot door and attempted to open it but was unable to get the door open. At this time the helicopter burst into flames and the gunner jumped back from the burning aircraft. The crew chief was able to crawl out of his position just prior to the fire. The flames were observed coming through the tree canopy by a forward air controller aircraft. Within ten minutes the forward air controller aircraft was on the scene and assisted "dust-off" into the area. A medic was lowered down to the crash area and assisted in getting the two survivors into the "dust-off" aircraft.
The MACV Summary for Sep 68 (TT 7390110001.pdf p20) says a UH-1 went down "8 miles NE of Duc Lap" with 4 US and 2 VN killed, 2 US rescued. Date, casualty count, and location match UH-1H 67-17149.
This record was last updated on 06/02/2018
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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023
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