Preliminary Report: Helo and pilot lost in ocean

 - February 27, 2009, 10:20 AM

Hughes 369, Honiara, Solomon Islands, Dec. 27, 2008–The Oceanside Helicopters 369 crashed into the Pacific Ocean and sank after the pilot lost control while taking off from a fishing boat on the Solomon Sea, about 350 miles west of Honiara. The pilot was not found and is presumed dead; the passenger was seriously injured. The helicopter was not recovered.

The helicopter’s mechanic, who saw the accident, said the pilot forgot to remove the anti-torque pedal lock before he took off. The helicopter lifted off and began to spin. The mechanic saw the pilot “trying to grab the pedal lock” without success.