NTSB Identification: ANC99TA029.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, February 24, 1999 in BARROW, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/20/2000
Aircraft: Bell 206L-1, registration: N785SR
Injuries: 3 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that the public use helicopter was being utilized to search for a missing person. He said that shortly after initiating the search, he was able to locate the missing person on a frozen lake. He indicated that as he approached the lake for landing, he became disoriented due to whiteout conditions. The helicopter struck the frozen lake, and rolled onto its right side. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, tail boom, and drive train components. The closest official weather observation station is Barrow, located about 4 nautical miles north of the accident site. On February 24, at 1753, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting in part: wind, 070 degrees at 13 knots; visibility, 3 miles with light snow; clouds, 2,400 feet scattered, 3,800 feet broken, 10,000 feet overcast; temperature, minus 7 degrees F; dew point, minus 13 degrees F; altimeter, 29.81 inHg. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical anomalies with the helicopter.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's misjudged flare while landing. Factors associated with the accident were whiteout conditions, and the snow-covered terrain.

Full narrative available

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