On September 6, 2006, at 1355 Pacific daylight time, a Hughes 369D, N812CE, collided with power lines while cruising about 3 miles north-northwest of Somis, California. The helicopter was owned and operated by the Southern California Edison Company (SCEC), Ontario, California, and it was substantially damaged upon impacting the ground. The commercial pilot and the power line inspector, both SCEC employees, were killed. The aerial observation flight was performed under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a company flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Camarillo, California, at 1321.

A ground-based witness, who was located north of the accident site, reported observing the helicopter fly into the power lines. The witness did not indicate that the helicopter took any evasive action prior to the collision.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) coordinator who responded to the accident site, the helicopter came to rest about 200 feet north of the severed power lines. SCEC representatives, who were participating in the Safety Board's investigation, reported that the impacted Edison Company power lines had been suspended from towers that were about 1,763 feet apart and had an east-to-west orientation. The helicopter's impact course appeared nearly perpendicular to the orientation of the power lines. SCEC personnel also reported that the impacted lines were located about 150 feet above ground level.

SCEC personnel also reported that the accident occurred during a routine patrol flight. An examination of the Edison Company aluminum conductor steel reinforced wires was performed. Three of the wires exhibited impact damage, and two wires were severed.

SCEC personnel submitted a report of the accident to the Safety Board investigator. In pertinent part, they stated the following:
"SCE is unaware of any exigent circumstances which may have affected [the pilot's] physical, mental or psychological health on the date of the accident."

An autopsy was performed by the County of Ventura Medical Examiner-Coroner, with specimens retained for toxicological analysis. No evidence of alcohol or screened drug substances was found during the toxicological tests.

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page