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119 Crashes On Mountain Top


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I always calculate OGE performances when landing is planed at such high altitudes... IGE isn't realistic for these kinds of operations! Attached a «mountain landing planification» I created and used when preparing my mountain qualification in Switzerland some years ago... I still use it when flying in unknown places... Happy nobody has been hurt!


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I see the NTSB in your futures Skull and Moore....they need more experts at "incident" reconstruction. Love hearing your old war stories Skull.. wow...Peru..a 204 to the edge of its limits..incredible stuff! The youngins sure must look up to you!

It must be awesome knowing you have those mad skills!


How bout we wait to hear what really happened before you dirt the poor fella on something that you are only "speculating" about. As always a true professional Skullcap!!

You never fail to dissapoint!

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  • 2 months later...

Calgary millionaire in trouble after mountain 'potty break'

Randy Boswell, Canwest News Service

Published: Friday, February 01, 2008


An impromptu helicopter pit stop on a remote Wyoming mountaintop may prove to have been a multimillion-dollar "potty break" for a renowned figure in the Canadian mining industry, according to a U.S. forestry official.


The ill-fated landing attempt atop picturesque Ptarmigan Mountain -- part of a protected wilderness zone in the Shoshone National Forest -- has prompted a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration probe and led to serious back injuries and a rich vein of other troubles for Calgary-based businessman Chris Verbiski, co-discoverer of Newfoundland and Labrador's multibillion-dollar Voisey Bay nickel mine.


The 39-year-old exploration geologist-turned-millionaire venture capitalist is facing some serious payouts to cover rescue, recovery and investigation costs following the Nov. 6 misadventure.


Verbiski also faces a U.S. federal fine of up to $5,000 for operating a "motorized vehicle" in a nature reserve, a possible bill for "thousands and thousands of dollars" for an environmental cleanup, and major repairs -- perhaps even a writeoff -- of his $3-million Agusta A119 helicopter, Ron Ostrom, a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer, told Canwest News Service on Thursday.


The chopper is "in tough shape," said Ostrom, adding Verbiski recently told him he's purchased a replacement helicopter.


Forest rangers who rushed to the scene in November learned Verbiski, the 33-year-old pilot of his aircraft and two other passengers were trying to touch down atop the windswept, 3,600-metre peak for a "bathroom break" during a sightseeing flight from Montana to Colorado.


"It's almost a 3,600-metre mountain, so it is a beautiful spot to land and look around," said Ostrom. "They were on a long-distance trip and one of them must have had to go to the bathroom. Down here, the term for that is a potty break."


But landing a helicopter in the strictly regulated Shoshone -- a pristine stomping ground for backpackers and bighorn sheep -- is a serious no-no, said Ostrom.


"The U.S. Congress set aside this wilderness area in 1964, with access by foot or horseback only -- no motorized vehicles, and that includes helicopters."


As the rescue effort was under way, a U.S. military Blackhawk helicopter from Montana was dispatched to monitor the situation, Ostrom added.


FAA investigators, who politely described the Canadians' unscheduled stop as a bid to let passengers "stretch their legs," have filed a preliminary report on the "hard landing" and how it "substantially damaged" the chopper as it "hit the mountain" with a thud, "spreading and fracturing both forward and aft skids."


Ostrom said the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is still investigation the crash-landing.


Verbiski could not be reached Thursday for comment. But an associate at the New Brunswick office of Coordinates Capital Corp., Verbiski's Newfoundland and Labrador-based firm, said the company founder was in hospital in Calgary.


Ostrom said Verbiski has been "very good" in accepting responsibility for the incident, acknowledging he directed the helicopter's pilot to land on Ptarmigan Mountain.


"He's been upfront about everything -- apologized many, many times."


But Ostrom added that considerable effort and costs were expended in rescuing the stranded Canadians and airlifting the damaged chopper from the mountain using a larger helicopter rented from a Montana company.


He described the rescue and recovery as "very dangerous" given the high winds and precipitous heights involved.


And because the helicopter's fuel tanks were damaged, said Ostrom, experts will have to conduct an environmental assessment at the crash site to determine how much fuel was spilled and whether a full-scale cleanup and replanting is necessary.


Verbiski, a St. John's native, has had better helicopter trips -- particularly the one he took in September 1993 to Discovery Hill, finding a stunning supply of nickel, copper and cobalt.


© The Calgary Herald 2008

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