NTSB Identification: DEN00FA082.
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Accident occurred Monday, May 01, 2000 in BLOOMFIELD, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/21/2001
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas 369E, registration: N1606K
Injuries: 2 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 helicopter had been used for fiber optic cable installation support operations earlier that day. The helicopter landed next to a company fuel truck at a job site approximately 20 miles south-southeast of Farmington, New Mexico, and approximately 12 miles west-southwest of the accident site. There the helicopter was refueled. The pilot told the driver he and his passenger were returning to Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington. Shortly after it departed, an oilfield worker, investigating the source of a smoke plume, found the burning wreckage of the helicopter and notified authorities. A severed static line was found nearby. The utility company estimated the height of the static line, at the point where it was severed, to be 39 feet. The power lines were estimated to be 35 feet above the ground. A toxicological screen revealed the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (marijuana) and tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (primary inactive metabolite of marijuana) in blood, lung, and bile.

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

The pilot's intentional buzzing (low level flying), and his failure to maintain clearance with the static wire. A factor was his physical impairment by a contraindicated drug controlled substance.

Full narrative available

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