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N48MP accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location 45.946666°N, 117.493333°W
Nearest city Troy, OR
45.946813°N, 117.451565°W
2.0 miles away
Tail number N48MP
Accident date 06 Jun 2007
Aircraft type Hughes 369D
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On June 6, 2007, approximately 0550 Pacific daylight time, a Hughes 369D, N48MP, was involved in an accident near Troy, Utah, which resulted when a suspended passenger fell from the helicopter during the helicopter's ascent. The aircraft was registered to a private individual and operated by the certificated commercial pilot. The pilot and one passenger were not injured, while a second passenger received serious injuries. The helicopter was not damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was engaged in netting and collaring of elk calves by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Service as a 14 CFR Part 91 operation. A company flight plan was on file. The local flight departed a staging area located 1 nautical mile from the accident site about 5 minutes prior to the accident.

In a telephone conversation with the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), and according to the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1), the pilot reported that after arriving at his destination on the first flight of the day "I lowered the helicopter and let the crewmember out of the aircraft. I watched him unbuckle his seat belt, unplug [his headset] and exit. When he was 'feet-on-the ground', I pulled slowly, vertically up; we could not see him." The pilot reported that after ascending to an altitude of between 10 to 15 feet above the ground he [still] could not see the crewmember, "...[and] at this time I lowered the aircraft in case he had jumped back on, when I felt a 'release'. I was already descending and continued to land with a 180-degree turn to the west." The pilot stated that as he was landing he could see the crewmember [lodged] in an apple tree. The pilot further revealed that after landing and while treating the crewmember, he noticed the plug at the end of the helmet's cord was pulled off.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector reported to the IIC that the crewmember's helmet's communication cord had inadvertently become entangled with a part of the helicopter's structure, eventually separating as the helicopter ascended, resulting in the crewmember falling into the apple tree. The inspector further reported that he could not identify the specific area of the helicopter where the cord became entangled, as there was no evidence of damage to the helicopter.

NTSB Probable Cause

The inadvertent entanglement of the crewmemeber's helmet's communication cord with the structure of the helicopter during the helicopter's ascent, which resulted in the crewmember being elevated above ground level before the helmet's cord separated, resulting in the crewmember falling into an apple tree. A factor was the pilot's diminished visual lookout.

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