NTSB Identification: LAX93LA132.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 52030.
Accident occurred Monday, February 22, 1993 in KAHULUI, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/19/1993
Aircraft: HUGHES 369D, registration: N58240
Injuries: 4 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 WAS HIRED BY THE MAUI POLICE DEPARTMENT TO CONDUCT SOME LOW ALTITUDE SURVEILLANCE OPERATIONS IN THE MOUNTAINS. THE PILOT SAID THAT HE WAS PROCEEDING AT A SLOW SPEED DOWN A GULCH WHILE THE POLICE OFFICERS ON BOARD CONDUCTED THEIR SURVEILLANCE OPERATIONS. THE TAIL ROTOR CONTACTED A POWERLINE STRUNG ACROSS THE GULCH AND THE TAIL ROTOR SEPARATED FROM THE HELICOPTER. THE HELICOPTER BEGAN TO SPIN AND THE PILOT SAID HE REDUCED THE POWER TO IDLE AND DROPPED THE COLLECTIVE. THE HELICOPTER THEN DESCENDED INTO TREES. THE PILOT NOTED THAT HE SAW THE WIRES ABOUT TWO SECONDS PRIOR TO COLLIDING WITH THEM; HOWEVER, HE WAS UNABLE TO AVOID THEM DUE TO 'STRONG WINDS AND THE MOMENTUM OF THE HELICOPTER.'

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

THE PILOTS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN AN ADEQUATE VISUAL LOOKOUT FOR OBSTRUCTIONS WHILE PERFORMING A LOW ALTITUDE SURVEILLANCE OPERATION IN A MOUNTAINOUS AREA, AND, HIS FAILURE TO SELECT AN ALTITUDE SUFFICIENT TO ENSURE CLEARANCE FROM ALL POTENTIAL OBSTACLES.

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