NTSB Identification: DEN05TA119.
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Accident occurred Saturday, August 06, 2005 in Albuquerque, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2006
Aircraft: Hughes 369HS, registration: N500SD
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

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.

The helicopter was supporting police officers on the ground, who were attempting to locate a burglary suspect. The pilot and observer were wearing night vision goggles. The pilot established an orbit over the area approximately 400 feet agl. On about the fifth orbit, the crew heard a very loud noise originating from inside the helicopter. The pilot stated that he did not know what happened but knew there was an emergency. The helicopter shook and began to turn right. The pilot immediately lowered the collective and entered autorotation. The pilot flared and the helicopter impacted terrain in the backyard of a residence. Post accident examination revealed a .30-.06 rifle bullet (fired from a high-powered rifle) severed the left anti-torque pedal at the connecting point of the vertical control tube. The bullet then ricocheted into the pilot's leg. An engine inspection revealed no anomalies that would preclude the engine from developing power.

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

the bullet(s), which severed the helicopter's left tail rotor pedal. Contributing factors were the severed anti-torque pedal and the unsuitable terrain for landing.

Full narrative available

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