NTSB Identification: SEA97LA032.
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Accident occurred Saturday, November 16, 1996 in FORKS, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/21/1997
Aircraft: Hughes 369D, registration: N5225C
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 lost engine power during an external load/logging operation, then it sustained substantial damage when it collided with trees during an emergency landing. Investigation revealed that fuel contamination disrupted the flow of fuel from the engine fuel nozzle(s). Test samples from the fuel supplier, storage tank, and the helicopter's fuel filter were provided by the operator to an independent laboratory. Testing showed that the fuel supplier's sample was free of contamination, but contamination was found in samples from the storage tank and the helicopter fuel filter.

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

fuel contamination, which resulted in loss of engine power. Factors relating to the accident included: improper servicing of the helicopter, and a lack of suitable terrain for an emergency landing due to the proximity of trees.

Full narrative available

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