Preliminary Report: Helicopter crashes into Gulf

 - February 28, 2008, 6:46 AM

Bell 206L-1 LongRanger, Venice, La., Dec. 29, 2007–The pilot of the Air Logistics helicopter lost control approaching an offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico in IMC and crashed into the ocean. One passenger was killed and the commercial pilot and two other passengers were seriously injured.

The pilot told NTSB investigators that he had encountered a “sloping cloud deck” as he approached for landing. While in a left turn to final approach, he began slowing to 20 to 25 knots and encountered a tailwind. The helicopter settled and he reduced the left bank. The helicopter was vibrating and shaking. The pilot added forward cyclic and increased power. The vibration and shaking became worse but due to the low altitude, he was unable to recover the helicopter or deploy the emergency flotation devices. All four occupants survived the crash and evacuated the helicopter; one passenger died later. The pilot, the last person picked up, was in the water for two-and-a-half hours.