NTSB Identification: LAX96LA149.
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Accident occurred Thursday, November 02, 1995 in PACIFIC OCEAN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/11/1996
Aircraft: Bell 47G-4A, registration: N99138
Injuries: 2 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 being flown from a fishing vessel during a fish spotting operation. The pilot reported that shortly after liftoff from the ship, he experienced a hydraulic failure. The seas were reported as high, and the pilot did not feel he could safely return to the pitching and rolling ship deck without hydraulic assist. He decided to land the float equipped helicopter in the water next to the ship. While hovering just above the water, the spotter unexpectedly jumped out of the helicopter without permission from the pilot. This resulted in a sudden imbalance, and the pilot lost control of the helicopter. The helicopter then rolled over, collided with the water, and sank.

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

failure of the pilot to maintain lateral control of the helicopter, while hovering in preparation for a precautionary landing next to a ship at sea. Factors relating to the accident were: the passenger's premature evacuation from the helicopter, and the resultant lateral imbalance of the helicopter as the passenger jumped.

Full narrative available

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