was constructed by Sikorsky back in 1981. It was imported to Sweden in mid 1994, and thereby came to be the second S-76 in the country (after SE-JEZ
). The helicopter served as an EMS helicopter in Uppsala and Gällivare, but it was lost in a non-fatal accident in April 1999. Background
On 1 July 1991 new national health care regulations commercialized HEMS operations by transferring the responsibility for airborne ambulance activities from the Swedish National Police to the local councils. The next year, in January 1992 new regulations prohibited single -engine HEMS operations in darkness.
On 1 October 1993 Uppsala University Hospital started a trial/interim medical helicopter service with a Bell 412 (SE-HVL
) operated by Osterman Helicopter. Two years later, in the autumn of 1995 the Gällivare company Norrlandsflyg won the new prestigious HEMS contract with Uppsala University Hospital. The contract called for a Sikorsky S-76 that was to be used for the hospital's airborne intensive care transports.Coming to Sweden
Norrlandsflyg had imported Sweden's first S-76 (SE-JEZ
) in mid 1993. The company purchased a second American S-76 and put it through the same EMS modification and re-painting program as SE-JEZ
had gone through at Keystone Helicopter Corporation in the US. The helicopter was registered SE-JES
on 1 October 1994. Its sister helicopter was employed as an EMS helicopter in Gällivare, but SE-JES
was standing by as a prospect aircraft.Entering service
On 1 January 1996 SE-JES
started its service as intensive care unit in Uppsala, replacing Osterman's SE-HVL
. The aircraft was stationed at the Fyrislund Rescue Station, moments southeast of Uppsala.
After three years the hospital prolonged the contract, but the hospital required a more powerful helicopter as a majority of the flights were inter-hospital transports and often went from one rooftop to another. A pre-owned ex-VIP 1985 S-76A++ was acquired from the US. It went through the EMS program at Keystone and came to Sweden in December 1998.
The new helicopter (SE-JUZ
) replaced SE-JES
on 7 January 1999.Gällivare
Following its retirement in Uppsala SE-JES
was moved to the main base in Gällivare, where it replaced SE-JEZ
as primary local EMS helicopter. SE-JEZ
became a backup helicopter for the company's EMS activities in Norrbotten and Uppsala.Accident
Around midnight on 3 April 1999 SE-JES
was engaged in an emergency medical mission i darkness and heavy winds roughly 25 km northeast of Torneträsk in northern Sweden. The crew of four was arriving on scene to evacuate two injured fishermen at the frozen lake Kamasjaure. As the helicopter was approaching the light of the fishermen's snowmobiles it suddenly, and unexpectedly, impacted the ice. One of the crew members obtained a minor spine injury, and the other three were unharmed. The fishermen could be evacuated by another helicopter some six hours later.
The Swedish Accident Investigation Board found that the accident was caused by the loss of altitude perception during the approach to the single-point reference on the ice.ReplacementSE-JES
was written off as a result of the accident. It was temporary replaced by SE-JEZ
while waiting for a new permanent helicopter to arrive. A S-76A was purchased from Australia, via the US, and it arrived in Sweden in November 1999. The new helicopter (SE-JUS
) started its EMS service in Gällivare in December 1999.