A National Transportation Safety Board investigation into a 2011 medical transport helicopter crash that led to the deaths of two Mayo Clinic employees and the death of the pilot/owner of the helicopter, has determined that the helicopter used in the flight was not certified to fly in the weather conditions it encountered.
The Florida Times-Union reports the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville had contracted SK Logistics to fly a helicopter to pick up a heart needed for a transplant. Unfortunately, the helicopter never made the pick up, as it crashed into a 50-foot tree in a remote area in Clay County.
An ex-employee of the now defunct company said that the area where the helicopter crashed was known to often be foggy, and visibility could be near zero at 200 to 400 feet. It was determined that the helicopter used for the pick up was not certified for use under those conditions and was not equipped with an autopilot or radar altimeter.
Disturbingly, SK Logistics had a helicopter that would have been certified to make the flight, but it had been down for maintenance since August of that year. The crash occurred the day after Christmas in 2011.