A Mil Mi-8MTV helicopter crashed into the roof of an office block in central Cape Town, South Africa, on 10 February, killing its four crew.

The helicopter, operated by Heyns Helicopters of Nelspruit, was carrying an underslung load - an air conditioning unit - to a nearby building when its tail rotor hit a roof-mounted billboard and the tailboom sheared off.

The pilot lost control and the aircraft fell onto the roof of an office block, exploding on impact. Investigators from the South African Civil Aviation Authority are examining the operator's pre-mission planning and reconnaissance, the marshalling arrangements, and the weather.

New regulations governing the operation of helicopters with external loads were recently published as part of South Africa's new aviation legislation. These include the mandatory aid of a ground marshal communicating with the crew via radio or hand-signals. If a marshal cannot be employed, the helicopter must have a mirror enabling the crew to see beyond the tail-rotor.

Source: Flight International