NTSB Identification: SEA02FA008.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Thursday, October 18, 2001 in Anchorage, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/16/2003
Aircraft: Bell 206L, registration: N400EH
Injuries: 3 Fatal,2 Serious.

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.

Because of falling snow and low ceilings, the pilot, who did not hold an instrument rating, was intentionally flying very low over the surface of an open area of flat/glassy water in whiteout/greyout conditions. As he continued on toward his destination, he kept getting lower and lower in order to maintain visual reference with the water's surface. Eventually the helicopter's skids drug through the water, followed almost immediately by the tail rotor colliding with the water, and soon thereafter by the helicopter's airframe impacting the water's surface.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from the surface of an open body of water while intentionally attempting to maintain a very low altitude while in cruise flight. Factors include falling snow, low ceilings, whiteout/greyout conditions, and flat/glassy water.

Full narrative available

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