NTSB Identification: DFW05LA074.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Friday, February 18, 2005 in Cameron, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Bell 206L-3, registration: N512RA
Injuries: 3 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.

After a normal power check of the turbine-powered helicopter, the engine lost power as the 14,490-hour airline transport rated helicopter pilot initiated takeoff from an offshore platform. Realizing that he could not safely return to the platform, the pilot turned into the wind, entered autorotation, and deployed the skid mounted emergency floats. The seas were high, and upon contact with the water, the helicopter filled with water, inverted, and partially submerged. No mechanical anomalies were found upon examination of the engine. A fuel sample from the airframe fuel filter canister contained a yellowish-tan contaminant that had separated from the fuel in the sample. Additionally, a yellowish-tan shiny substance was found on the paper folds of the airframe fuel filter. The fuel cells were drained and boost pumps removed. Some contamination was found on the boost pump assemblies' exterior surfaces and on the bottom of the main fuel cell. Both left and right in-line fuel filters between the front and rear fuel tanks also exhibited contamination. The investigation revealed the engine fuel nozzle screen was blocked and collapsed due to a contaminant. One of the fuel facilities that the helicopter had been recently refueled had samples that tested positive for bacterial/fungal growth.

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

Fuel starvation due to a blocked and collapsed fuel nozzle screen, resulting from a contaminated fuel source/facility. Factors were the inadequate maintenance/inspection of fuel sources, and the lack of suitable terrain (high sea state) for the forced landing at sea.

Full narrative available

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