NTSB Identification: DCA05RA089
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 10, 2005 in Tallinn, Estonia
Aircraft: SIKORSKY S-76C+, registration:
Injuries: 14 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On August 10, 2005, at about 12:45 local time, a Copterline Sikorsky S-76 helicopter, registered in Finland as OH-HCI, crashed into the Baltic Sea shortly after takeoff from Tallinn, Estonia. The 2 crewmembers and 12 passengers onboard were fatally injured. The passengers were citizens from Finland, Estonia and the US.

The helicopter was destroyed by water impact. The wreckage was located in at a depth of 45 meters and at coordinates: North 59 degrees 32 minutes 546 seconds and East 24 degrees 43 minutes 852 seconds. Weather in the area of the accident was covered by the north-east part of a low pressure front. The winds were 110 degrees at 14 knots at the surface and at 1000 - 2000 feet the winds were at 130 degrees at 25 - 30 knots. The lowest cloud base was at 800 - 1400 feet. Temperature was 14 degrees Celsius and the dew point was 13 degrees Celsius.

The accident helicopter departed from Tallinn City Hall heliport at about 12:39 local time for a scheduled flight to Helsinki, Finland. The flight normally lasts 18 minutes and is about 80 kilometers in distance. The accident flight crew had already performed 5 landings at Tallinn City Hall heliport that day. The operator, at the time of the accident, operated 28 daily scheduled flights between Helsinki and Tallinn on weekdays. Shortly after takeoff, the flight had reached an altitude of 1500 feet and the flight crew began a climb to 2000 feet. The FDR data shows a change in collective position shortly before the helicopter pitches up abruptly and then rolls to the left. Witnesses saw the helicopter crash and an air traffic controller observed the helicopter disappear from radar coverage. As a result, a search and rescue operation was launched immediately.

The accident investigation is being conducted by the Government of Estonia as the state of occurrence. They have formed an Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission that is comprised of 8 individuals. There are accredited representatives from Finland, the United States (US) and France. The Safety Board sent an accredited representative and an airworthiness specialist to assist the Commission. Sikorsky and the Federal Aviation Administration also sent technical advisors. They were on-scene for over two weeks. Wreckage examination revealed that the floats had not been deployed and that the main rotor and tail rotor blades were intact until water impact. The engines were sent to the manufacturer in France for further examination. The recorders were downloaded at the recorder manufacturer in the United Kingdom. US manufactured parts that were part of the transmission and flight controls were sent to the US for examinations, testing and teardowns. As a result, Honeywell and HR Textron have been added as technical advisors to the US.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Estonia. A preliminary report was released in September 2005 and further information may be obtained from:

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications
Taivo Kivistik
Chairman of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission
Harju 11
Tallinn, Estonia
Fax: (372) 631 3660

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