NTSB Identification: LAX97LA262.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Saturday, July 26, 1997 in POLLOCK PINES, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/31/1998
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: N123WF
Injuries: 1 Serious,4 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 7,000-hour chief pilot reported that the area was clear when he approached the helipad, which was located on private property. After touchdown, he reduced the throttle to ground idle and told his passengers it was safe to exit. The pilot did not report that any ground (crowd control) personnel were present to assist his passengers, and no barriers existed around the helipad area. Within less than one minute after the landing, a waiting passenger approached the helicopter from the rear. The prospective passenger became distracted due to the blowing dust and walked into the rotating tail rotor blades. Years earlier, the FAA published information alerting operators of the lack of rotating rotor blade conspicuity. Also to enhance safety, the FAA suggested that ground support personnel be available to assist passengers, and that placement of physical barriers around operation areas be placed to separate prospective passengers from hazards. No evidence was found that the helicopter operator had ground support personnel present to assist the prospective passenger, or that it had placed restricting access devices around the helipad area.

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

the passenger's failure to recognize and avoid the hazard associated with the rotating tail rotor. The operator/event organizer's lack of ground facilities or support personnel to assist/control passenger access to the helipad was a related factor.

Full narrative available

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