NTSB Identification: MIA02FA026.
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Accident occurred Thursday, November 22, 2001 in Tallassee, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/18/2002
Aircraft: Enstrom 280FX, registration: N280XF
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 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.

The pilot stated he keeps the helicopter at his residence. On the day of the accident he flew to his sisters house. After dinner, he departed his sisters house, which is located about 5 miles from the accident site, with the 2 passengers. They flew around the town of Tallassee, and he then entered on the downwind leg for runway 13 at Reeves Airport. He turned on base over the Tallapoosa River, and was flying to the south. He observed a glimmer and remembers seeing power lines. The next thing he remembers is being in the river. Postcrash examination of the helicopter showed it had collided with an unmarked power transmission line, which drooped below the tree level on the river banks, to a point about 75 feet about the river. The collision occurred about midpoint in the river and the wire rapped around the main rotor mast. The main rotor system separated from the helicopter and the helicopter crashed into the river about 500 feet south of the power lines. Postcrash examination of the helicopter and engine showed no evidence of precrash failure or malfunction of the helicopter structure, flight controls, or engine. Toxicology tests performed on specimens obtained from the pilot after admission to a hospital were negative for ethanol and drugs.

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

The failure of the pilot to maintain a safe altitude above terrain and maintain a visual lookout resulting in the helicopter colliding with power transmission lines and crashing into a river. A factor in the accident was the power transmission lines not being marked.

Full narrative available

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