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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 228189
Last updated: 5 January 2021
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Time:11:05 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic B427 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 427
Owner/operator:Niugini Helicopters
Registration: P2-HSG
C/n / msn: 56066
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:offshore, 3.1 nm NW of Baluma -   Papua New Guinea
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Kokopo
Destination airport:Kimbe
Investigating agency: AIC PNG
On 11 August 2019, at 11:25 local time (01:25 UTC), a Bell 427 helicopter, registered P2-HSG, owned and operated by Niugini Helicopters, was reported to have impacted a reef 3.1 nm of North West of Buluma township while conducting a VFR ferry flight from Kokopo to Kimbe, PNG.
After completing a passenger flight from Kimbe to Kokopo, the pilot of the helicopter departed back to Kimbe at 10:02.
About 30 nm from Kimbe, the pilot made a radio broadcast reporting that he had commenced his descent from 8,000 ft into Kimbe. The helicopter was estimated to arrive in Kimbe at 11:09. The helicopter descended to 3,000 ft, where the pilot, according to his statement, decided to conduct an autorotation descent exercise to check the autorotation RPM which had been adjusted by the engineers during an unscheduled maintenance activity the day before.
The pilot reported that everything seemed normal until he commenced action to transition back to powered flight (recover), from simulation at around 1,000 ft, where he received the low rotor RPM warning. He then momentarily glanced at the torque gauge, and recalls sighting an abnormal reading which prompted him to think that one of the helicopterís engine had failed.
The pilot stated that he immediately lowered the collective and rolled the throttles to idle allowing the helicopter to enter an emergency autorotation descent straight ahead along its planned track. He subsequently pressed the SOS button on the installed company tracking system and later transmitted a Mayday.
The pilot further stated that at some stage, as he was getting closer to the water, he realised that the engine power was available. However, he concluded that it was already too late to recover and he had also not determined the cause of the warning and abnormal reading. He therefore continued on and ditched the helicopter on the water.
After the helicopter ditched, it continued tracking towards the South West for about 20 minutes before it reached a shallow reef which was reported to be generally less than a meter deep at the time. The pilot tried to lift the helicopter onto the reef, but it spun out of control and impacted the reef then came to rest on its left side.
The tail boom was torn off as it impacted the reef with momentum. The main rotor gearbox separated from its mount, only being held by springs, during the impact sequence and lodged itself into the forward lower section where the pilotís foot pedals were located. This injured the pilotís right foot.
The pilot managed to climb out of the helicopter during the low tide and wait for rescue. Rescuers arrived on scene about 40 - 45 minutes after the accident and rescued the pilot.
The Operator stated that they received the ĎSOSí on their monitoring screen but thought that the pilot had inadvertently pressed the button. They reported that the ĎSOSí button was sometimes accidently activated in past flights, thus they did not activate an emergency response but rather monitored that helicopter on screen to determine whether it was actually in distress or that it was just a false alarm.
The Operator reported that the CEO who was at home received a ĎSOSí alert on his phone within 10 minutes of the pilot activating it. He immediately commenced coordination of the rescue operation, in liaison with Kimbe Bay Shipping Agency (KBSA), boarded a fishing boat at the KBSA marina and headed to the accident site.

Causes [Contributing factors]:
The decision of the pilot to conduct the autorotation RPM check over water, far away from a safe landing area, although not directly casual to the accident, contributed to the severity of the accident and the damage caused as a result of the impact.
The pilotís initial misdiagnosis of low rotor RPM warning associated, with the alleged abnormal torque reading led the pilot to enter into the emergency descent instead of actioning the low rotor RPM emergency procedure.
The late recognition of engine status resulted in the pilot being unable to recover from the emergency descent as the helicopter was quite low at that time.

Sources: (photo)

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AIC PNG
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 4 months
Download report: Final report



Photo: AIC PNG

Revision history:

14-Aug-2019 05:33 Petropavlovsk Added
14-Aug-2019 06:38 rotorspot Updated [Total fatalities, Source]
14-Aug-2019 07:26 RobertMB Updated [Other fatalities, Nature, Source]
17-Oct-2019 14:51 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
17-Oct-2019 16:30 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Embed code]
04-Jan-2021 19:57 harro Updated [Embed code, Narrative, Accident report, Photo]
05-Jan-2021 11:57 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code, Accident report]

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