On October 2, 1999, at 1615 GMT, a Bell 214 ST twin-engine helicopter, N704H, was substantially damaged upon impact with the water during takeoff from an offshore platform in the Arabian Gulf, near Dhahran, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The helicopter was owned and operated by the Aramco Aviation Department, of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Twenty persons were aboard the helicopter. The two airline transport rated pilots and ten of the passengers were fatally injured. Eight passengers survived with minor injuries. The helicopter was transporting personnel for the scheduled evening crew change from the oil/gas platform, located 35 nautical miles offshore, to the operator's base in Ras Tanura. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the business flight for which a company VFR flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

Witnesses near the platform reported that the helicopter crashed into the water shortly after liftoff from the 88 foot tall helideck. Survivors concurred that the helicopter's entry into the water was "soft and gentle." The floats of the helicopter inflated during the accident sequence; however, the helicopter rolled inverted in the water.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction and control of the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Any further information may be obtained from:

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Defense and Aviation Presidency of Civil Aviation Aviation Standards and Safety P.O. Box 1165 Jeddah 21431 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia This report is for informational purposes only and contains only information released by or obtained for the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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