NTSB Identification: CHI91FA294.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 43903.
Accident occurred Sunday, September 15, 1991 in LAURIE, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/1993
Aircraft: Bell-K Copter 47D1, registration: N7768
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE PILOT WAS OBSERVED TO BE CONSUMING BEER WITH A GROUP OF PEOPLE BEFORE THE FLIGHT. HE AND 2 OTHERS OF THE GROUP WERE SEEN TO GO THE HELICOPTER, BOARD IT AND TAKE OFF. A WITNESS ON A HIGHWAY ABOUT 5 1/2 MILES SOUTH OF THE DEPARTURE POINT OBSERVED A HELICOPTER FLYING NEAR TREETOP LEVEL TOWARD HER CAR. SHE SAID THE HELICOPTER THEN TURNED TOWARD A LAKE AND DISAPPEARED FROM HER SIGHT. TWO WITNESSES OBSERVED THE HELICOPTER STRIKE POWERLINE CABLES, THEN CRASH INTO THE LAKE. THE WIRES WERE ESTIMATE TO BE ABOUT 60 TO 75 FT ABOVE THE WATER. TOXICOLOGY TESTS FOR ALCOHOL REVEALED THE PILOT AND 1 PASSENGER HAD BLOOD/ALCOHOL LEVELS OF 0.161% AND 0.190%, RESPECTIVELY. THEIR URINE HAD ALCOHOL LEVELS OF 0.155 AND 0.221%. THE OTHER PASSENGER HAD A URINE/ALCOHOL LEVEL OF 0.204%.

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

POOR JUDGEMENT OF THE PILOT, DUE TO IMPAIRMENT FROM CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE BEFORE FLIGHT, HIS INTENTIONAL BUZZING, AND HIS INADEQUATE VISUAL LOOKOUT (FAILURE TO SEE-AND-AVOID POWER LINES).

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