NTSB Identification: LAX93LA288.
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Accident occurred Monday, July 12, 1993 in WEIMAR, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/1994
Aircraft: ROBINSON R22B, registration: N531JD
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

WHILE CRUISING THROUGH A GORGE OVER THE NORTH FORK OF THE AMERICAN RIVER, THE HELICOPTER COLLIDED WITH CHARTED TRANSMISSION WIRES ABOUT 550 FT ABOVE THE RIVER, AND THE HELICOPTER CRASHED INTO THE RIVER. A HIGHWAY PATROL OFFICER REPORTED THAT THE SUPPORTING (WOOD) POLES WERE PARTIALLY HIDDEN FROM VIEW BY NATIVE VEGETATION, AND THE WIRES WERE NOT PARTICULARLY VISIBLE. THE COLLISION OCCURRED ABOUT MID-SPAN BETWEEN THE MOUNTAINSIDE POLES WHICH WERE LOCATED ABOUT 2,274 FT APART. SEVEN YEARS EARLIER AT THE SAME LOCATION, ANOTHER HELICOPTER HAD COLLIDED WITH THE WIRES AND CRASHED INTO THE RIVER. FOLLOWING THAT ACCIDENT THE UTILITY COMPANY DID NOT TAKE ANY ACTION TO INCREASE THE CONSPICUITY OF THE WIRES/POLES.

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

THE FAILURE OF BOTH PILOTS TO SEE AND AVOID THE CHARTED POWER LINE. FACTORS WHICH CONTRIBUTED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: THE FAILURE OF THE UTILITY COMPANIES TO ADEQUATELY REVIEW THE HAZARD POSED BY THE WIRES FOLLOWING A PREVIOUS COLLISION AT THE SAME LOCATION, AND PILOT'S COMPROMISED ABILITY TO DETECT THE WIRES DUE TO THEIR LACK OF CONSPICUITY.

Full narrative available

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