Saturday, February 27, 2016

Bell 206B JetRanger, Genesis Aviation, N80918: Fatal accident occurred February 18, 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii 

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA072
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, February 18, 2016 in Honolulu, HI
Aircraft: BELL 206B, registration: N80918
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 3 Serious, 1 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On February 18, 2016, about 1020 Hawaiian standard time, a Bell 206B, N80918, was substantially damaged when it impacted water during an emergency landing near Honolulu, Hawaii. The helicopter was registered to a private individual and operated by Genesis Helicopters under provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a local air tour flight. The commercial pilot and 2 passengers sustained serious injuries, 1 passenger sustained minor injuries, and 1 passenger was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a company flight plan was filed for the local flight. The flight originated from the Honolulu International Airport (HLN), Honolulu, about 0935.

The pilot reported to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge, that while in cruise flight over Ford Island, he felt a vibration followed by a grinding noise. Shortly after, the pilot heard a loud bang, scanned the instrument panel and saw that the engine instruments indicated the engine was still running, however, rotor rpm decreasing. The pilot initiated an auto rotation to a grassy area near Contemplation Circle at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. As the pilot neared his intended landing area, he observed multiple people within the area. The pilot stated he initiated a left pedal turn, attempting to land close to the shoreline. Subsequently, the helicopter descended rapidly into the water, about 20 feet from the shoreline.

Witnesses located at various locations at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument reported observing the helicopter near their location traveling at a low altitude before it suddenly descended into the water.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the helicopter was submerged in about 40 feet of water, about 20 feet from the shoreline. The helicopter was removed from the water the day following the accident and was subsequently rinsed with fresh water. All major structural components of the helicopter were recovered. The wreckage was moved to a secure location for further examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Honolulu FSDO-13

Riley Dobson

Survivors from last week’s tour helicopter crash were released from the hospital Friday and are now on their way home to Canada.

That’s according to the family’s attorney, Megan Kau.

Riley Dobson, 16, died from that crash. He was with his brother and his parents when the chopper came down in the water near the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center.

A preliminary report indicates that the chopper may have had some kind of mechanical problem before the crash.

Kau says Dobson’s parents have not fully recovered yet, but they are just well enough to go home so they can grieve for their youngest son.

The Dobson family hired Kau to look into a possible lawsuit over Dobson’s death. She says the family confirmed hearing the grinding noise and vibrations before the chopper crashed, as mentioned in the preliminary report by National Transportation Safety Board investigators.

But it’s still too early to tell what exactly happened.

“At this point, their focus is getting better and getting home, so there’s no need for us to discuss the preliminary report, which has very little information in it,” Kau said.

Kau says this was the first time the family had visited Hawaii and that they had plans to share a lot of good memories as a celebration.

“Mom was sick and they did come here to celebrate as a family and to have a vacation as a family,” Kau said.

Instead, the family wound up holding funeral services for Dobson on Tuesday. They released a statement saying, “Riley was a gift to the family and he will be deeply missed.”

Several family members came to town shortly after the crash happened. Kau tells us everyone is devastated and is relying on each other to get through such a difficult time.

“What I see is a family that works together, loves each other, is really there for each other. They flew down here from Canada as soon as they could, bringing little things like glasses, things you wouldn’t think of that they lost in the crash. Hopefully going forward, the family sticks together and is able to get through it with the support of one another,” Kau said.

The Honolulu medical examiner just released its autopsy report, which concluded that Dobson drowned.

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