NTSB Identification: CEN12FA250
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 17, 2012 in Gulf of Mexico, LA
Aircraft: SIKORSKY S-76B, registration: N56RD
Injuries: 7 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 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.

On April 17, 2012, about 1155 central daylight time, a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter, N56RD, was substantially damaged after ditching near an off-shore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana. The pilot and six passengers were not injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by RDC Marine, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a business flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed at 1110 from Acadiana Regional Airport (ARA), New Iberia, Louisiana, and was destined for the drilling rig where the ditching occurred.

The pilot reported that he was just over the landing pad at an off-shore drilling rig when the helicopter had a sudden loss of power. To avoid a hard landing on the deck, he attempted to abort the landing, but was unable to regain fly-away speed. After an emergency landing to the water, the pilot attempted to water-taxi in 5-foot seas when the tail boom partially separated from the fuselage. A rescue vessel quickly responded and all seven persons successfully evacuated with no injuries.


The attempt to recover the helicopter was unsuccessful and it sank in 310 feet of water. When the wreckage is recovered, it will be transported to an on-shore secure location for examination.

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