NTSB Identification: FTW95FA016.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Friday, October 14, 1994 in EUNICE, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/13/1996
Aircraft: ROBINSON R22 BETA, registration: N80546
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A DOCTOR TOOK OFF FROM A LOCAL HOSPITAL, AND THE HELICOPTER WAS OBSERVED FLYING WESTBOUND ABOUT TWO BLOCKS FROM THE HOSPITAL. ACCORDING TO A WITNESS, A LOSS OF ENGINE POWER OCCURRED. HE REPORTED THAT THE HELICOPTER TURNED RIGHT TOWARD A FIELD; HOWEVER, THE WITNESS INDICATED THAT THE HELICOPTER WENT OUT OF CONTROL, AND THEN CRASHED IN A DITCH NEXT TO A ROAD. AN EXAM OF THE HELICOPTER AND ENGINE DID NOT DISCLOSE ANY PREIMPACT MECHANICAL ANOMALIES; HOWEVER, THE CARBURETOR HEAT WAS FOUND IN THE OFF POSITION. THE TEMPERATURE AND DEW POINT WERE 63 AND 59 DEGREES, RESPECTIVELY. ACCORDING TO ICING PROBABILITY CHARTS, CONDITIONS WERE CONDUCIVE FOR SERIOUS CARBURETOR ICING. TOXICOLOGY TESTS WERE POSITIVE FOR FLUOXETINE AND NORFLUOXETINE (PROZAC). TESTS OF A BLOOD SPECIMEN (CLOT) SHOWED 0.2 MG/KG OF FLUOXETINE AND 0.3 MG/KG OF NORFLUOXETINE; TESTS OF A LIVER SPECIMEN SHOWED 6.2 MG/KG FLUOXETINE AND 15 MG/KG NORFLUOXETINE. THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG, PROZAC, IS AN ANTIDEPRESSANT AND WAS NOT APPROVED FOR USE WHILE FLYING.

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

THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO PROPERLY USE CARBURETOR HEAT, THE FORMATION OF CARBURETOR ICE, AND FAILURE OF THE PILOT TO MAINTAIN ROTOR RPM AFTER LOSS OF ENGINE POWER, WHICH RESULTED IN A LOSS OF CONTROL AND COLLISION WITH TERRAIN. A FACTOR RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WAS: THE WEATHER CONDITION, WHICH WAS CONDUCIVE TO CARBURETOR ICING.

Full narrative available

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