FTW01LA081
FTW01LA081

On March 20, 2001, approximately 1041 central standard time, a Sikorsky SK-76A helicopter, registered to and operated by Air Logistics L.L.C., of New Iberia, Louisiana, was standing with rotors engaged on an offshore platform, East Cameron 270 (EC 270), when a passenger, attempting to board, was struck by a main rotor blade. The passenger sustained fatal injuries, and the pilot, co-pilot, and other passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a company VFR flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 on-demand domestic air taxi flight. At the time of the accident, the flight had just arrived on the platform to drop off three of its nine passengers, and was picking up three other passengers (one of whom was the fatally injured passenger) .

According to the pilot-in-command statement, after a normal landing to offshore platform EC 270, he "retarded the throttles" to idle. The co-pilot and one passenger exited the left side, and two passengers exited the right side of the helicopter. Approximately one minute later, the pilot heard a noise and saw (5 feet from the nose of the helicopter at his 2 o'clock position) that a passenger fell to the heliport. The pilot kept the helicopter running to keep the rotor blades away from assisting personnel. After the personnel were clear of the blades, the pilot shutdown the helicopter.

The passenger had entered the base of the heliport through a stairwell that was located near the nose of the helicopter. The nose of the helicopter was oriented at a heading of 230 degrees. At the time of the landing, the wind direction was variable from 300 to 020 degrees at 35 knots, gusting to 40 knots.

The co-pilot added that he "visually checked the front rotor tip path plane and it was set properly." The passenger came onto the heliport unexpectedly and unescorted.

According to the Sikorsky 76 Maintenance Manual (SA 4047-76-2, revision Apr 15/83), the main rotor blade's ground clearance while rotating at flight idle, is 8 feet, 1 inch, and the main rotor blade's ground clearance in the static position is 6 feet, 3.2 inches.

On March 18, 2001, the passenger attended a helicopter safety meeting that was held at the EC 270 platform. The safety meeting topics included: "beware of tail rotor, never carry any item vertically to chopper, and additional helicopter safety issues."

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