NTSB Identification: CHI96LA032.
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Accident occurred Thursday, November 09, 1995 in CRYSTAL, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/18/1996
Aircraft: HUGHES 369D, registration: N58231
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The helicopter was approximately 50 feet above the ground lifting a load of trees when its engine lost power. The pilot attempted autorotation. The helicopter's right skid collapsed on impact with the terrain rolling the helicopter on its side. A witness observed 'black smoke around the ship' as the helicopter descended. Examination of the wreckage at the site revealed fuel to the fuel control, but no fuel in the line from the fuel control to the nozzle. There was approximately 150 pounds of jet fuel in the fuel tank. About ten drops of water were collected from the fuel sump screen. Examination of the nurse truck fuel supply at the site indicated that a filter at the pump was installed at an incorrect angle allowing water to collect in the sump. An examination of the engine at the factory revealed no mechanical anomalies.

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

fuel contamination resulting in the loss of engine power, and improper fuel sump screen installation on the nurse truck resulting in contamination of the fuel supply.

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