NTSB Identification: FTW04FA168.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Thursday, June 24, 2004 in Vermillion Bay, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/2006
Aircraft: Bell 206-L1, registration: N5006F
Injuries: 3 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.
The 6,562-hour commercial rated helicopter pilot encountered adverse weather while on a 114-nautical mile over water cross-country flight. The pilot contacted his company's flight following with a normal position report and reported inbound on a Gulf of Mexico operation. Approximately eight minutes later, the accident pilot contacted his company's flight following and changed his destination to another heliport, but did not give a reason for the change of destination. He also reported his estimated time of arrival and that he was 45 miles out. At the helicopters approximate time of arrival, another helicopter pilot monitoring a common VHF radio frequency, overheard a mayday distress call. He then replied by asking for the accident pilot's location, but received no response. A moment later, another mayday distress call was heard followed by, "going in the water." There were no further communications or reported distress calls, and no reported eyewitnesses. A Convective SIGMET advisory was valid at the time of the accident. The SIGMET warned of embedded thunderstorms moving from 220 degrees at 25 knots, with tops above 45,000 feet. This advisory encompassed the area of the accident site. There was no report of the pilot obtaining any formal preflight weather briefing (from a company, flight service station, DUATS or WSI weather program) prior to departure or en route.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's continued flight into adverse weather conditions resulting in a loss of control. Contributing factors were the prevailing thunderstorms and the pilot's inadequate in flight preparation and planning. Full narrative available
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