I tracked this helicopter by chance on FR24 today (clicked on it curious as to its long route) and just learned it sadly crashed later today at LOAN and the pilot sadly perished.
Routing appears to be LIPB Bolzano – Semmering (passenger exit) – LOAN.
LOAN 211500Z VRB02KT 0400 FG VV002
TAF AMD LOAN 211507Z 2115/2121 24005KT 2500 BKN004 TEMPO 2115/2120 0400 FG VV002
I know little about helicopters but wx conditions make me think of the high profile Bryant case.
The difference to the Byrant case is that this helo appears to have been on a ferry after offloading the VIP on the Semmering. So the question really is, why try to land in thick fog? It appears to have been the homebase for that helo and it’s pilot, so maybe the underlying reason is more like get-home-itis?
There is a steady stream of heli crashes in low cloud / low vis. Even pilots who fly that route every day do it.
I know next to nothing about helicopter flying, but one of my students, who is a HEMS emergency physician tells me that their helicopter (H145) has an autoland function that puts it down hands off from a hover a few hundred feet above any point. Primarily as an emergency provision for pilot incapacitation, so I am not sure whether it may be used in normal ops at all. Don’t know whether the Bell 429 has a similar system…