Saturday, January 09, 2021

Hughes 500D (369D), N8612F: Accident occurred January 09, 2021 in Winthrop, Okanogan County, Washington

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. 

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

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


Location: Winthrop, WA 
Accident Number: WPR21LA084
Date & Time: January 9, 2021, 12:30 Local 
Registration: N8612F
Aircraft: Hughes 369D
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Positioning

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Hughes 
Registration: N8612F
Model/Series: 369D
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Rotorcraft external load (133), Commuter air carrier (135), Agricultural aircraft (137)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: S52
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 2.2°C /-6.7°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Unknown / 3000 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 3000 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.32 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Darrington, WA (1S2)
Destination: Winthrop, WA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 48.47372,-120.17966 (est)


WINTHROP, Washington — The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a two-passenger helicopter went down near an ice rink and hotel in Winthrop on Saturday. There were no injuries.

“We heard of a big kind of a thud-thud-thud. It was obvious that something had gone wrong,” said a witness, who did not want to be identified.

Kids had just been skating on the outdoor ice rink.

“I was unlacing my daughter's skates when it happened,” he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said around 12:30 p.m. the Hughes 369D helicopter hit a snowbank while it was attempting to land. The agency is investigating.

“The tail of it had come off, and a couple of propellers that come off and the windows were broken and debris, scattered pieces of fiberglass," the witness said.

It’s unclear why the helicopter ended up near the ice rink and hotel.

“It seemed kind of like an odd spot for it to land. But we figured the pilot knew what he was doing,” he said.

Crews began preparing to move the helicopter around 7 p.m.

“The fact that nobody got hurt, I think is a real blessing,” the witness said.

Highline Helicopters out of Darrington is listed as the owner of the helicopter. They did not comment when contacted.



WINTHROP, Washington - Okanogan County Fire District 6 says a helicopter toppled after landing on a snow bank in Winthrop on Saturday. Fire officials say the wreck happened near an ice rink.

Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley says mechanical problems forced the helicopter to descend onto the ground. Authorities say pilot and the passenger were not hurt; there were no fuel leaks.

The aircraft was owned by Highline Helicopters out of Darrington, Washington. Hawley says the aircraft was putting tracking collars on deer. The helicopter may have been contracted by Fish and Wildlife to put tracking collars on mule deer as part of a migration study.

The Federal Aviation Administration has secured the area and is investigating the crash. 


OKANOGAN COUNTY, Washington — A helicopter crashed near the ice rink in Winthrop, according to Okanogan County Emergency Management.

There were two occupants in the helicopter when it crashed, however no injuries were reported, according to Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley. 

The NTSB was notified to investigate Hawley said. The FAA will also be alerted to investigate the pilot, Hawley said. 

The helicopter is owned by Hi Line Helicopters out of Darrington, Washington. 

The Okanogan County Sheriff's Office and Winthrop Marshals Office both responded to the scene. 

Citizens are asked to avoid the area to allow first responders to handle the incident. 

The crash was first reported around 1:13 p.m., according to the Okanogan County Emergency Management Facebook page. 


WINTHROP, Washington — Two people survived a helicopter crash near the Winthrop Rink without any injuries on Saturday.

The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office and Winthrop Marshall’s Office both responded to the parking lot of a hotel next to the rink, where the helicopter went down around shortly after 12:30 p.m.

Initially, law enforcement reported minor injuries from those involved in the crash. The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office later confirmed no one was injured. The helicopter was owned by HiLine Helicopters.

People are being asked to avoid the area. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

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