WPR09LA069
WPR09LA069

On December 28, 2008, about 0545 Coordinated Universal Time, a Hughes 369A helicopter, N104BN, impacted ocean water and sank following a loss of control on takeoff from a fishing vessel in the Pacific Ocean's Solomon Sea, about 350 miles west of Honiara, Solomon Islands. The pilot, a Philippine national, was not found and is presumed dead, and the passenger, a Chinese national, sustained serious injuries. The helicopter, which was registered to Oceanside Helicopters, Inc., of Port Vila, Vanuatu, was not recovered and is presumed destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 local work use flight.

According to a written statement provided by the helicopter's mechanic, who witnessed the accident, the pilot forgot to remove the tail rotor pedal lock before takeoff. The helicopter lifted off and began to spin. The mechanic saw the pilot "trying to grab the pedal lock;" however, the pilot was unsuccessful. The helicopter impacted the water, the fixed floats separated, and the helicopter sank.

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