NTSB Identification: FTW04FA167.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 26, 2004 in Cushing, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/24/2005
Aircraft: Bell 206B, registration: N27TV
Injuries: 2 Fatal,3 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.
While maneuvering during a local sightseeing flight, the helicopter impacted power lines, crashed into a river, and came to rest 90 percent submerged in the water approximately 1,500 feet from the power lines. According to the operator, the helicopter was providing sightseeing rides for guests at a birthday party. Approximately 1 hour prior to the accident, a witness observed the accident helicopter flying reckless near his residence. According to the accident flight passengers, the helicopter departed and flew west toward a nearby river. One passenger reported, "Once we arrived [at the river], he descended to within a few feet over the riverbed and then flew up into the power lines." Another passenger, who was seated in the rear center seat and looking out the windscreen, stated he could see the river and the sun out of the windscreen. The passengers did not see the power lines; however, one observed sparks and flying debris after contact with the power lines. The passengers stated the helicopter shook violently and impacted the water. Examination of the helicopter revealed the power lines impacted the helicopter's upper wire cutter, main rotor mast, and main rotor blade pitch links. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation prior to impact with the power lines. The reported sunset on the day of the accident was 3 minutes after the impact with the power lines.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision and his failure to maintain obstacle clearance. Contributing factors were low altitude flight, sun glare, and the static wires. Full narrative available
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