Pilot’s disorientation likely caused fatal air ambulance crash in Brainerd



BRAINERD, Minn. — The pilot’s spatial disorientation on a dark and foggy night was the probable cause of the fatal 2019 North Memorial Health helicopter crash at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport. The National Transportation Safety Board issued its final report last month on the June 2019 crash that killed the pilot and a flight nurse while seriously injuring a flight paramedic. There was no mechanical failure reported. It was just past 12:30 a.m. June 28 when pilot Tim McDonald initiated the instrument landing system in the Agusta medical helicopter. The three-person crew was returning from delivering a patient to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale and as they approached the...

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