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Summary

Summary

Following an earlier flight from the mainland and a brief shutdown on a floating pontoon at Norman Reef, the Bell Jetranger II 206B departed in a south-south-east direction into the prevailing wind. On board with the pilot were four passengers scheduled for a scenic flight around Norman Reef and return to the pontoon. Immediately following the takeoff, the pilot initiated a right banking turn. While in the turn, with a quartering tailwind, the helicopter began an uncommanded yaw to the right. The pilot reported that he lowered the collective and pushed the tail rotor pedals left and right in an attempt to regain control of the helicopter. Following those actions, and after two complete 360-degree rotations to the right, the yaw abated. After a momentary pause, the helicopter again began to yaw to the right. The pilot broadcast a MAYDAY on CTAF frequency, armed and inflated the emergency flotation gear, and initiated a water landing. The helicopter impacted the water and rolled to the right. The pilot and three occupants successfully exited the helicopter unassisted. One passenger occupying the right rear passenger seat was momentarily trapped in the helicopter by her seatbelt, as the seatbelt release latch had become reversed. The pilot and onlookers from a nearby pontoon eventually assisted her from the helicopter. The helicopter sustained substantial damage.

 
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