Factual Report: S-76 crashes off oil platform

 - June 7, 2007, 10:34 AM

Sikorsky S-76A++, Eugene Island, Gulf of Mexico, Oct. 22, 2006–The Petroleum Helicopters S-76 was destroyed when it crashed into the Gulf of Mexico while landing at the offshore platform Eugene Island Block 259, in VMC. The 16,848-hour ATP-rated pilot was not injured and the 1,731-hour commercial copilot received only minor injuries.

The copilot told investigators that they had tried to reach the platform twice the day before but turned back because of low ceilings and poor visibility. The day of the accident, the crew obtained a detailed weather briefing en route to the platform and continued to update the weather conditions from home base and their destination, also monitoring the onboard weather radar. When 20 minutes out, they were told that the platform had moderate rain, poor visibility and a low ceiling. The PIC said he expected the rainshowers to move through before the helicopter arrived at the platform.

Two nm out, the flight crew was still unable to see the rig because of the rain showers, so they turned to circle the shower. The pilot said when he saw the rig on final approach, there was no visible horizon because of the intensity of the rain. He asked the copilot to turn on the windshield wipers and arm the floats. Then the helicopter hit the water in a nearly level attitude and rolled over.