NTSB Identification: ATL02FA048.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Saturday, February 16, 2002 in New Smyrna Bch., FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Bell 206L-1, registration: N23PJ
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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.

When the helicopter failed to arrive at the destination airport, a waiting passenger became concerned and alerted local authorities, and a search for the helicopter was initiated. The downed helicopter was located several hours later in a swampy area approximately 6 miles southeast of the destination airport. According to local law enforcement personnel at the accident site, low clouds and reduced visibility existed at the approximate time of the accident. Examination of the accident site showed that the wreckage debris from the helicopter was scattered over an area approximately 300 feet long and 40 feet wide. Examination of the airframe and the engine assembly failed to disclose a system malfunction or component failure. Toxicology reports for the pilot noted 115mg/dl (0.115%) of ethanol in the blood and 153mg/dl (0.153%) in the vitreous.

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

The pilot continued visual flight into instrument conditions that resulted in the in-flight collision with trees. Factor were the pilot's alcohol impaired condition, and low cloud conditions.

Full narrative available

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