NTSB Identification: SEA02TA067.
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Accident occurred Thursday, April 11, 2002 in Richland, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/16/2003
Aircraft: Hughes 369D, registration: N8353F
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

During an aerial animal capture flight, the helicopter was positioned about 15 feet above ground level over the elk for capture. The pilot positioned the helicopter to get the gunner into firing position and told the gunner to get ready. When ready, the gunner fired the net. Immediately after the shot, a loud bang was heard and the helicopter began to vibrate. The pilot landed the helicopter without further incident. After the main rotor blades stopped turning, it was noted that one of the blades had a hole on the leading edge that exposed the spar. Additional holes were noted on the back of the blade about two inches from the trailing edge. The net that was discharged was examined. It was noted that one of the net weights from one of the four corners was missing and had separated from the attaching material. The weight was later found about 300 feet from the net and displayed impact damage and was slightly bent.

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

Failure of the netting material securing a net weight while maneuvering. The net weight was a factor.

Full narrative available

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