Accident Hughes 369HS N9068F, Thursday 3 September 2015
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Date:Thursday 3 September 2015
Type:Silhouette image of generic H500 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Hughes 369HS
Owner/operator:Whirlwide Helicopters Inc
Registration: N9068F
MSN: 21-0293S
Year of manufacture:1971
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:300nm E of Manra Island, Kiribati -   Pacific Ocean
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Manra Island, Kiribati
Destination airport:Manra Island
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
According to an operator representative, the commercial pilot and passenger/spotter were conducting fish-spotting duties. The operator reported that, about 16 minutes after the helicopter departed from the fishing vessel, the fishing vessel’s radio operator reported losing contact with the helicopter. Vessel personnel then located the helicopter upside down in the water and initiated rescue operations.
The passenger reported that “the helicopter went wrong in the air and started rolling over and fell into the water.” The pilot was fatally injured as his personal life vest, which was equipped to self-inflate upon submerging in water, interfered with his ability to evacuate the helicopter as it rolled over. The passenger evacuated the helicopter and was rescued shortly after. He reported that he saw that the pilot’s life vest had inflated inside the helicopter and that the pilot was struggling to exit and then stopped moving. After the passenger was transported to a hospital, he was not available for further questioning. The pilot’s personal life vest, which was equipped to self-inflate when submerged in water, likely prevented him from evacuating the helicopter as it rolled over. After the accident, the operator advised its pilots not to use this type of life vest and to use the company-issued flotation life vests.

The helicopter subsequently sank and was not recovered. The reason for the flight upset and descentloss of helicopter control could not be determined.

Probable Cause: A The loss of helicopter control for reasons that could not be determined asbecause the helicopter sank in the oceanwater and was not recovered.


FAA register:

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft

6 December 1997 N9068F Macaw Aviation 0 Saipan Island w/o
Heavy landing

Revision history:

06-Sep-2015 12:05 gerard57 Added
06-Sep-2015 14:29 Geno Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Operator, Source]
15-Sep-2015 11:11 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Location, Country, Phase, Nature, Narrative]
18-Sep-2015 23:53 Geno Updated [Time, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source]
18-Sep-2015 23:54 Geno Updated [Date]
21-Sep-2015 14:11 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:30 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
05-Nov-2017 08:47 ASN Update Bot Updated [Other fatalities, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
04-Jun-2018 19:57 Aerossurance Updated [Other fatalities, Source]
28-Sep-2023 03:05 Ron Averes Updated

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