NTSB Identification: WPR13LA137
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 02, 2013 in Pacific Ocean, Papua New Guinea
Aircraft: HUGHES 369HS, registration: N471M
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On March 2, 2013, about 1320 Universal Coordinated Time (UTC), a Hughes 369HS, N471M, impacted the ocean after being struck by a commercial fishing vessel in the Pacific Ocean. The airline transport pilot sustained serious injuries, and the one observer on board the helicopter sustained fatal injuries. The helicopter’s main rotor assembly and tail rotor assembly were substantially damaged. The aircraft was registered to, and operated by, Jerry’s Helicopter Service, Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from the helicopter’s designated vessel at approximately 1220 UTC.

The pilot reported that he circled over a fishing vessel before initiating a hover over a fish aggregating device so the observer could launch a radio buoy. After approximately 3-5 minutes of hovering into the wind, the pilot felt the helicopter vibrate uncontrollably and subsequently impact the ocean water below. The helicopter came to rest upside down. After the pilot surfaced, he was rescued by the fishing vessel’s crew members.

Post accident examination of the helicopter revealed substantial damage to the tail rotor, main rotor assembly, and vertical and horizontal stabilizers. The fishing vessel sustained minor damage.

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