DFW06FAMS1
DFW06FAMS1

On October 6, 2005, approximately 1645 central daylight time, a single-engine Bell 206-L3 helicopter, N6560K, registered to and operated by Industrial Helicopters, Incorporated, of Lafayette, Louisiana, disappeared under unknown circumstances while operating in the Gulf of Mexico. The helicopter was never located and the commercial pilot and the two passengers are presumed dead. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight.

During a telephone interview, a representative of the operator stated that the pilot made two flights in the accident helicopter on the day of the accident. Both flights originated from the company's base heliport in Scott, Louisiana. The pilot departed approximately 1200 and flew to South Marsh Island 23 to refuel. He then departed on an approximate 30-minute flight to the Vermillion 408 manned offshore platform, and then returned to the company's base heliport in Scott, Louisiana.

On the second flight, the pilot departed at an unknown time and flew to South Marsh Island 23 to re-fuel. The pilot then departed and flew to the Vermillion 408 manned offshore platform, and then on to the Vermillion 369 unmanned offshore platform, which was located approximately 5 to 6 miles away, where he picked up three passengers and returned to Vermillion 408. According to personnel based at Vermillion 408, the solo pilot departed the platform approximately 1645, and was destined for the Vermillion 369 offshore platform, where he was scheduled to pick up the only two remaining maintenance personnel on that platform.

When the pilot failed to make the required 30-minute position reports, a search was initiated by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). The two maintenance personnel were not found at the Vermillion 369 platform and it was assumed that they had boarded the helicopter for their scheduled flight back to Scott, Louisiana. No distress calls were ever reported by the pilot, and no debris was ever located. The USCG ceased search and rescue efforts on October 10, 2005, but the operator continued to fly over the coastlines of Texas and Louisiana in search of washed up debris. Additionally, an All-Notification to vessels operating in the Gulf of Mexico was issued.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument-helicopter. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second class medical was issued on April 19, 2005. The pilot was hired by Industrial Helicopters Incorporated in May 2005, and he satisfactorily completed a Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 135 proficiency check on June 1, 2005. As part of his initial training, the pilot received 6-hours of General Emergency Training, which included ditching/emergency evacuation and use of flotation devices. A review of his flight and duty time records revealed that he had accrued approximately 7,498.9 flight hours as of October 2, 2005; of which, 1,944 hours were in a Bell 206 helicopter.

At 1653, the automated surface observing system at the Lafayette Regional Airport (LFT), near Lafayette, Louisiana, approximately six miles southwest of Scott, Louisiana, reported wind from 020 degrees at 11 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear sky, temperature 89 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 62 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barometric pressure of 29.80 inches of Mercury. A pilot flying in the area of Vermillion 369 reported that the sky was clear around the time the helicopter went missing.


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