NTSB Identification: FTW98LA129.
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Accident occurred Saturday, February 14, 1998 in BROOMFIELD, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/26/1998
Aircraft: Enstrom F-28C-2, registration: N5693M
Injuries: 3 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 said he noticed that the LOW FUEL PRESSURE warning light had illuminated 'along with engine roughness.' Suspecting an imminent fuel pump failure, he turned on the electric fuel pump and diverted toward a nearby airport. While on the initial landing approach, the engine lost power. As the pilot made an autorotation towards an open field, the engine began to surge. Approaching the field, the pilot turned on the landing light and caught a glimpse of powerlines. To avoid a collision, he made a pedal turn to the right. While maneuvering to avoid a collision, the main rotor rpm decayed and the helicopter struck the ground. A postaccident fuel sample taken from the engine sump disclosed water in the fuel. The source of water contamination could not be determined. The helicopter had flown several times that day, and had been serviced by an airport refueling truck. No other reports of fuel contamination were received from aircraft operators serviced by the same truck.

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

water contamination in the fuel, which resulted in loss of engine power and a forced (autorotative) landing. Factors relating to the accident were: darkness; and a high obstruction in the emergency landing area.

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