NTSB Identification: FTW02LA019.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Thursday, October 18, 2001 in East Cameron 78, GM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/23/2003
Aircraft: Bell 206L-3, registration: N348AL
Injuries: 3 Serious,2 Minor.

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 in cruise flight at 500 feet msl, when the pilot heard a "thud," and the helicopter yawed left. The engine lost power, and the pilot initiated an autorotation to the water. According to the pilot, he turned the helicopter to the right into the wind and "before the completion of the turn, the hydraulics quit." The helicopter landed "hard" on the water and rolled over. The pilot reported to the operator that he had deployed the emergency floats; however, an examination of the helicopter revealed that the floats had not been deployed. An examination of the fuel system revealed that the fire-shield to fuel nozzle fuel supply line contained no fuel. The contents of the fuel filter was tested and it was determined that the it contained 10 percent fuel and 90 percent sea water. All three fuel cells were empty; however, all three cells were compromised. According to the helicopter manufacturer's representative, "the damage observed on the main rotor hub and blades is consistent with what would be expected as a result of impact of a slow turning rotor. Examination of the airframe and engine did not disclose any structural or mechanical anomalies that would have prevented normal operation.

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

The hard landing due to the pilot's failure to maintain proper main rotor rpm. Contributing factors were the loss of engine power for undetermined reasons, and the pilot's failure to deploy the emergency floats.

Full narrative available

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