On June 19, 1993, at 0410 hours Pacific daylight time, a McDonnell Douglas 369D helicopter, N277SP, collided with an electrical power cable while maneuvering on takeoff from a landing zone near Half Moon Bay, California. The helicopter sustained substantial damage. The pilot received serious injuries. The passenger received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the early morning movie filming operation which had started just after midnight and was completed around 0300.

The pilot stated that his work day had started 17 hours prior to the accident on June 18, 1993, about 1030, when he departed his home and flew commercially from Los Angeles to Reno, Nevada. The pilot was to have picked-up the helicopter at the Reno airport. After arriving at the Reno Airport at 1300 hours, the pilot was informed that the helicopter was not at the airport and ground transportation would be sent to take him to the helicopter. The pilot waited in the airport terminal until 1630 hours for ground transportation to arrive. At 1745 hours, the pilot departed the Reno area in the accident helicopter and arrived at the filming site about 1850 hours on June 18, 1993.

The helicopter was being used as a camera platform at the filming site which was located on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean. The filming was completed and the helicopter was maneuvering to depart the area about 0410 hours when it collided with the power cable. The cable supplied electrical power to a bank of high intensity lights that were 125 feet high and were illuminated at the time of the accident. According to the film company, the lights produced approximately two million candle power of illumination. The impact with the cable occurred about 25 feet below the lights on the illuminated side. The pilot had made several takeoffs and landings during the course of the filming that morning.

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