NTSB Identification: FTW03LA101.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Saturday, February 22, 2003 in High Island 443, GM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2004
Aircraft: Bell 407, registration: N740PH
Injuries: 1 Fatal,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.
During hot refueling operation on an offshore platform, a passenger, who was assisting in the refueling, was struck by the helicopter's main rotor blades. Due to the location of the platform stairwell, the pilot elected to position the helicopter on the platform with a quartering headwind from the right. The pilot "confirmed the [aircraft] was stable by pedal and control inputs prior to allowing [passengers] exit to begin fueling." Both passengers exited the helicopter and assisted in the refueling. During the refueling operation with the engine at ground idle, the helicopter began to "feel light", and slide to the left. The helicopter continued to the left and came to a stop approximately 1 to 2 feet from the edge of the platform. The pilot shut down the helicopter and noticed both passengers lying on the platform. The surviving passenger reported, "[a] wind gust took aircraft [and] it began to slide. [He] unhooked [the] ground cable, pulled hose out, ran from [the] aircraft, laid on deck, [the other passenger] was by the pump controller (fuel pit), proceeded to get out of the way and was struck by the main rotor." Another offshore platform, located approximately 6 miles from the accident site, reported the wind from 320 degrees at 33 knots.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain directional control of the helicopter during the hot refueling operation which resulted in the main rotor blades striking the passenger. A contributing factor was the high wind conditions. Full narrative available
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