NTSB Identification: ANC96LA154.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Friday, September 13, 1996 in CANTWELL, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: N7982J
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor,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 pilot and 2 passengers departed in a helicopter on a flight over a large mountain range. Weather conditions along the intended route of flight, following a highway through a large pass, included low ceilings, snow, and fog. The area forecast included an AIRMET for marginal VFR and temporary IFR conditions. The pilot made several telephone calls to an FAA flight service station and his company office in the area of the pass to access the weather conditions. He decided to cross the mountain range in an area 23 miles west of the first intended route, over a small mountain pass. During flight over the pass, he encountered low ceilings with snow and fog. He entered whiteout conditions and began a turn to reverse direction. The pilot became disoriented and the helicopter collided with snow covered terrain at an elevation of about 5,300 feet.

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

the pilot's continued VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The terrain conditions, low ceiling, fog, and whiteout conditions were related factors.

Full narrative available

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