Saturday, September 07, 2019

Hughes 369D, N54528: Accident occurred August 31, 2019 in Asotin, Washington

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Asotin, WA
Accident Number: WPR19LA249
Date & Time: 08/31/2019, 2217 PDT
Registration: N54528
Aircraft: Hughes 369
Injuries:2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On August 31, 2019, about 2217 Pacific daylight time, a Hughes 369D helicopter, N54528, was substantially damaged following an impact with water near Asotin, Utah. The helicopter was owned by a private individual and operated by the airline transport pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions were reported at the airport about the time of the accident. No flight plan was filed for the flight. The local flight had originated from a private residence near, Asotin, Utah about 2216.

The pilot departed during dark night conditions to provide aid to individuals that were in distress across the canyon. The pilot recalled lifting off and the next thing he remembers was having to apply full right pedal and then impacting the water. He estimates that the event lasted about 10 seconds.

The helicopter was transported to a secure facility for further investigation.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Hughes
Registration: N54528
Model/Series: 369 D
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light: Night/Dark
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLWS, 1436 ft msl
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Asotin, WA
Destination: Asotin, WA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 46.251667, -116.968611 (est)

LEWISTON, Idaho (KLEW) — On Sunday, crews pulled a helicopter from the bottom of the Snake River after it crashed with two people inside the night before.

The Nez Perce County Sheriff's Office says they were called to the scene at 10:45 p.m. after the helicopter went down in the river near Ten Mile Canyon.

"The reports that we're getting were, in an attempt to help some hunters on the Idaho side of the river, they deployed from their helipad," says Cpl. Patrick Dupea with the sheriff’s office.

Dupea says the helicopter launched from the Washington side but only got about 200 yards before plummeting into the Snake River. The two men inside, Lewis Weiss of Duval and Alexander Jobe of Sammamish, where able to escape the sinking helicopter and make it to shore. But then they drove off without talking to law enforcement and authorities say they're still trying to contact them at this time.

"We're here to ensure everyone's safety and we need the pieces of the puzzles to put together what happened and make sure that everybody is safe,” says Dupea.

The sheriff's office got reports the helicopter had a mechanical failure but are still working to determine the exact cause of the crash. The helicopter sank to the bottom of the Snake River and was there until late afternoon.

"We marked it for precaution, just to make sure that nobody did hit it,” Dupea says.

Dupea adds that the hunters were never in danger and that citizens should contact local authorities if they think there's an emergency before going to help.

"We would sure like to be aware if they were going to launch some type of rescue mission to help these hunters out because the sheriff's office does have resources to deploy search and rescue."

The sheriff's office did say they've talked with the occupants’ family members as well as the owner of the helicopter. There have been no charges filed and no injuries reported in the incident at this time.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Story and video ➤

On August 31, 2019 at about 2245 hours Whitcom advised Nez Perce County of a helicopter crash on the Snake River near Ten Mile Canyon. The Nez Perce County Marine Deputy was called out to investigate. The helicopter crashed in the middle of the river. Witnesses reported to Whitcom that two males exited the helicopter and left the scene in a vehicle. The two males, later identified as Lewis G. Weiss of Duvall, Washington and Alexander J. Jobe of Sammamish, Washington were not able to be reached. The complainant on this crash, Josephine F. Weiss of Duvall, reported that Alexander made it back to a address in Asotin, no word was obtained on Lewis.

Nez Perce County asked Asotin County for an Agency Assist to get eyes on the Alexander, Asotin County was unable to contact him. The dive team will be deployed in the morning to inspect the crash. This investigation is ongoing. 

-Nez Perce County Sheriff's Office


  1. Very strange behavior to leave of the accident. Very suspicious!

    1. Local officials apparently were not amused: