NTSB Identification: FTW01LA036.
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Accident occurred Friday, December 01, 2000 in ROCKPORT, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/09/2001
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: N222LM
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 returning to shore from an oil platform. The pilot had just made a "5 mile advisory call" announcing his intention to land at his destination when the engine chip light illuminated; this was followed by an immediate loss of engine power. The pilot initiated an autorotation, inflated the floats and made a mayday call. During the descent, he "had full [aircraft] control to include tail rotor authority." During landing, the tail rotor blades entered the water resulting in sudden stoppage of the tail rotor, which twisted the tail rotor drive shaft apart. Following the landing, the helicopter remained upright, and the pilot exited the helicopter after the main rotor blades came to a stop due to the "waves and wind." After he moved away from the helicopter, it rolled over. The pilot reported that the wind was from 045 degrees at 15 knots gusting to 25 knots. An examination of the turbine engine revealed that the N1 gas producer would not turn. Disassembly of the engine revealed that the compressor coupling adapter was fractured. Metallurgical examination indicated that the compressor coupling adapter had failed due to fatigue initiating from fretting at the outer surface where it contacted the impeller. The source of the fretting could not be determined.

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

the loss of engine power during cruise flight due to the fatigue fracture of the compressor coupling adapter. A contributing factor was the high sea condition existing for the forced landing.

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