NTSB Identification: LAX02LA032.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 23, 2001 in Pacific Ocean
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/28/2002
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas 369HS, registration: N4265D
Injuries: 1 Minor,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.

As the pilot began to lift the fish spotting helicopter off a helipad on a tuna fishing vessel, it rolled off the right side of the ship. The rotor blades hit the side of the ship and the helicopter entered the water inverted and sank. The operator stated that the probable cause was that the right side tiedowns and the APU cable were not removed by the shipboard helper prior to the pilot attempting to liftoff. The pilot reported to the operator that he believed he had checked the tiedowns before getting in the helicopter's left seat, but that it was also hard to see the right-hand side of the aircraft on the pad. The operator also noted that the shipboard helper is a Chinese national who does not speak English well and that communications between the two may not have been good.

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

A dynamic roll over due to the pilot's inadequate preflight inspection and failure to ensure that all tiedowns were removed. A factor in the accident may have been the lack of clear communications between the pilot and the shipboard helper assigned as the helicopter ground crewman.

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