On July 9, 1998, approximately 1515 Pacific daylight time, a Hughes 369D helicopter, N5063G, registered to and operated by Olympic Air, Inc., and being flown by a commercial pilot, was involved in a fatal injury accident when the sling attach line released, dropping a load of cedar shakes to the ground. One of the two ground crewman was fatally injured when struck by the block of shakes. The pilot was uninjured and the remaining ground crewman sustained only minor injures. The accident occurred during a long line operation approximately six nautical miles north northeast of Raymond, Washington. The flight was engaged in long line operations, and was to have been operated under 14CFR133, originating from Raymond, Washington, approximately 0820. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot reported that the "eye that was spliced into the sling rope had pulled apart allowing the cedar bolt load to fall free."
A law enforcement official from Pacific County reported that the two ground crewman (employees of the contractor) were preparing the cedar shake blocks for movement by the helicopter, and were utilizing a three-quarter inch diameter, yellow plastic line provided by the contractor. Each end of this flexible line was attached to itself by means of a woven "splice" to create a loop at its end. The polypropylene line was then centered around the load with one spliced loop eye end threaded through the opposing spliced loop eye. The free loop end was captured in the hook at the end of the helicopter's sling line. As the helicopter would begin its lift, the line would tend to cinch down tightly around the load.
During the helicopter's liftoff, the spliced end of the line at the helicopter's long line hook released, allowing the cedar shake load to fall free, striking one of the ground-crew personnel.
An examination of the line by personnel from the Washington Department of Labor and Industry revealed that one end of the line had unraveled, and that the splice at the opposing end was not spliced in accordance with acceptable industry standards (Washington Department of Labor and Industry report #115161093).