Preliminary Report: Main rotors strike passenger

 - January 28, 2008, 8:29 AM

BELL 407, HIGH ISLAND 443, GULF OF MEXICO, FEB. 22, 2003–At approximately 9:45 a.m. CST N740PH’s main rotor blades struck and killed a passenger during a hot refueling operation on offshore platform High Island 443 (HI 443) in the Gulf of Mexico. The ATP-rated pilot and a second passenger were not injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Petroleum Helicopters Inc. of Lafayette, La. VMC prevailed at the platform, where the flight had landed for an intermediate fuel stop with a destination of offshore platform West Cameron 407 (WC 407) in the Gulf of Mexico.

The pilot, in an interview conducted by an FAA inspector, reported that after the helicopter landed he asked if the passengers were trained to refuel the helicopter with the engine and rotors operating. The passengers reported that they had completed that type of operation before. During the refueling operation, a wind gust started to push the helicopter across the platform and the pilot initiated engine shutdown and applied the main rotor-blade brake. The helicopter continued to slide and came to rest approximately one foot from the edge of the platform, at which time the pilot noticed that the main rotor blades had struck the passenger.