A recent online video shows an accident that took place in Santiago, Chile between a Chilean Police (Carabineros de Chile) Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter ) EC135P2+ and a Chilean fire rescue vehicle. In the video, the vehicle is shown driving past the helicopter and clipping the rotor blade causing the helicopter to spin out of control and eventually explode.
The dramatic video of the helicopter spinning has directed attention away from what led up to the incident. The following video has been created from various videos on youtube showing the situation leading up to the accident:
00:00 The helicopter can be seen attempting to land in the center of the video.
00:10 An emergency vehicle passes within a few meters directly under the landing helicopter.
00:18 Police can be seen blocking additional traffic in the lane closest to the center median.
00:39 After stopping briefly, the approaching emergency vehicle is allowed past.
00:44 Two people can be seen, one on each side of the helicopter. It appears these are crew that have just exited the helicopter.
01:07 Another emergency vehicle can be seen driving past the helicopter. Three people on the ground can be seen helping guide the vehicle past the helicopter.
01:24 Chilean Police can be seen driving past the helicopter and taking up a position to block the two outer lanes of traffic.
01:32 While the Police vehicle is parking, the people on the ground begin clearing the inner lane to allow another emergency vehicle to pass.
01:45 The emergency vehicle stops while one of the people on the ground speak to the driver.
01:50 The emergency vehicle is allowed through striking the helicopter.
The video clearly shows that the intersection was only briefly closed to vehicle traffic. Numerous emergency vehicles are allowed to pass dangerously close to the helicopter. After being closed, the road was specifically opened to allow through the vehicle which eventually struck the helicopter. Amazingly, most of these vehicles are allowed to pass by the helicopter while air crew are on the ground outside of the helicopter.
Comments have been posted online about this accident blaming the crew of the emergency vehicle for driving too close to the helicopter. Based on the video, it is clear that everyone involved played a part in creating the conditions that allowed the accident to take place.