NTSB Identification: LAX99LA292.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 01, 1999 in POHNPEI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/05/2000
Aircraft: Hughes 369HS, registration: N42054
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.

The helicopter took off from the fishing vessel to conduct tuna spotting operations, and crashed under unknown circumstances approximately 1 1/2 hours later. The pilot had made routine communication with the ship captain via radio about 10 minutes before the accident. No emergency calls were received by the ship. The helicopter was about 30 miles away from the ship at the time of the accident. The ship's crewmembers located only the helicopter's floats, pieces of the airframe, and the engine. The ship captain reported that the sea was flat and clear. There were no birds or fish noted around the accident site. The pilot had been on the ship since August 25, 1999, and had flown about 4 hours. The captain and crew reported that the pilot, who also performed duties as the mechanic, had not mentioned any mechanical problems with the aircraft. The operator estimated that the helicopter had approximately 64 gallons of fuel on board when it departed. No debris or contamination was noted in the fuel samples. The engine did not reveal any preimpact damage and appeared to have been rotating at the time of impact.

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

An in-flight collision with the water for undetermined reasons.

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