Entries in Helicopter Crash (13)


Three People Killed in Southern California Helicopter Crash

Tim Hawley/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- A helicopter crash in southern California early Sunday morning left three people dead.

Charred pieces of the helicopter were strewn over private property in the mountains about 45 minutes north of downtown Los Angeles. The three people onboard were killed. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said the helicopter was being used for some kind of movie shoot.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


‘Unavoidable’ Bird Strike Killed 2 Marines 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- A “likely unavoidable” bird strike was responsible for a helicopter crash that killed two Camp Pendleton Marines in September, according to a Marine Corps investigation.

Capt. Jeffrey Bland, 37, and 1st Lt. Thomas Heitmann, 27, were killed on Sept. 19 when their AH-1W Cobra helicopter collided with a female red-tailed hawk near Fallbrook, Calif.

The bird, which investigators estimated had a 4-foot wingspan and weighed 3 pounds,  hit the top of the helicopter and damaged the pitch change link, according to a report obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune through a public records request.

Vibrations in the main rotor caused the helicopter to fall to the ground in three separate pieces, the report stated.

The two Marines were killed on impact, while the wreckage ignited a brush fire that spread over 120 acres.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Seven US Marines Killed in Helicopter Collision over Arizona

U.S. Marine Corps/Pfc. Sean Dennison(YUMA, Ariz.) -- Seven Marines were killed during night training west of Yuma, Ariz., Wednesday when two helicopters collided, the Marine Corps told ABC News.

Six of the Marines were from Camp Pendleton and one was from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.

The crash occurred around 8 p.m. and the helicopters, belonging to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, were identified as a two-seat Cobra attack helicopter and an UH-1 trooper carrier, commonly known as a Huey.

The names of those who died in the crash will not be released by the Marine Corps until their next of kin have been notified.

The helicopters went down along the California/Arizona border just outside of the Yuma Training Range Complex.

Yuma is an area used extensively for helicopter and fighter jet training because the desert landscape is similar to Afghanistan.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


3 Killed in Florida Helicopter Crash

Tim Hawley/Getty Images(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) -- Three people aboard a medical transport helicopter were killed when it crashed in a wooded area northeast of Palatka, Fla., Monday morning.

The chopper was en route from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville to a hospital in Gainesville to harvest organs when it went down.

“We understand from local authorities that the helicopter wreckage has been found,” said Mayo Clinic spokesperson Layne Smith.

“It was discovered in Clay County, Fla., near Green Cove Springs, which is about midway between Jacksonville and Gainesville,” Smith said.

Two of the three people on board were Mayo Clinic employees.

“The medical team consisted of Mayo Clinic cardiac surgeon Luis Bonilla, M.D., and procurement technician David Hines,” the Clinic said in a statement. “A helicopter pilot who was not employed by Mayo also died in the accident. No patients were on board.”

The pilot’s identity was not immediately made public.

An investigation into what caused the crash is underway.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Four Soldiers Dead After Army Helicopters Crash in Washington State

US Army/2nd Lt. Kyle Suchomski(JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.) -- Four American soldiers were killed Monday night when two Army helicopters went down at a military base in Washington state.

The crash occurred sometime after 8 p.m. inside the southwest training area at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the Army said in a statement.  Initial reports said two people were injured, but as Joint-Base Lewis-McChord spokesman Joseph Piek explained, there were no survivors.

"The two helicopters are OH-58 Kiowa helicopters and they are two seat aircraft," Piek said, meaning all four aviators died.  Their names have not yet been released.

An investigation is now underway to determine the cause of the crash.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Feds Investigate Helicopter Crash That Killed 5 Near Lake Mead

Comstock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- A helicopter crash that killed five people on a sunset sightseeing tour just 30 miles outside the Las Vegas Strip was under federal investigation Thursday.

Details remained sketchy, though a National Transportation Safety Board official said the company that operated the helicopter involved in Wednesday’s crash "has a history.”

The Clark County coroner late Thursday still was not officially identifying the victims the crash, though The Las Vegas Review Journal reported a man said that the pilot was his son, Landon Nield, 31, who worked for Sundance Helicopters for several years and was married in June.

The National Transportation Safety Board Thursday morning launched a 12-person team to review the crash, Mark Rosekind, an NTSB member and its spokesman at the scene, told reporters. Though the team arrived around 10 a.m., the NTSB only had limited information on the exact details of the crash Thursday evening.  

“The site is very difficult to access,” Rosekind said. “It has taken four-by-fours and helicopters [to get there]. It’s going to be very difficult, and there will be very limited access to the site. It will make it harder."

“Very little factual information is known at this time,” Rosekind added, though he noted Sunshine Helicopters’ previous safety record.

“This operator has some history,” Rosekind said.

In 2003, the NTSB investigated another Sunshine Helicopters crash that killed the pilot and all six passengers while flying through Descent Canyon. In its report, the NTSB provided statements from previous passengers complaining about the pilot’s alleged unsafe maneuvers. The report claimed that Sunshine Helicopters never enforced a one-week suspension without pay to the pilot, allowing him to continue flying.

Rosekind said the investigators would stay at the crash scene for three to five days, and he expected the NTSB would issue a report in about 10 days.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., Thursday praised the efforts of the rescue team and sent condolences to the victims’ families. He also promised diligence and partnership with the NTSB throughout the investigation to assure the safety of future helicopter tours throughout Nevada.

“My thoughts this morning are with the families of the five people who died in a terrible crash yesterday,” Reid said in a statement published on his website. "Hundreds of thousands of tourists enjoy these popular helicopter tours of Nevada each year, and I’m saddened that people lost their lives in this rare tragedy."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NTSB to Investigate Helicopter Crash Near Vegas That Killed Five

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced early Thursday morning it has launched an investigation into a helicopter crash near Las Vegas Wednesday that killed all five people on board.

The chopper, operated by Sundance Helicopters, was on a sightseeing tour of Hoover Dam about 30 miles away from Las Vegas Strip, when it went down around 5 p.m. in the mountains surrounding Lake Mead.  Officials confirmed that all passengers were killed.

As National Parks Department spokesman Andrew Munoz explains, the scene of the crash is very remote, making it difficult for rescue and investigative teams to reach the site.

"The area itself is rugged...mountains and there's no easy access in by vehicle," Munoz says.

For its part, the NTSB will use a team of 12 members to look into the crash.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NYC Helicopter Crash: Victim Identified as British Woman on Birthday Tour

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A woman visiting New York to celebrate her 40th birthday died trapped in the back seat of the helicopter that spun out of control and plunged into New York City's East River on Tuesday.

The passengers were four members of a British family on holiday to celebrate Sonia Marra Nicholson's birthday.

The other three passengers were Nicholson's partner Helen Tamaski, her mother Harriet Nicholson and her stepfather Paul Nicholson, officials said.

Tamaski is in critical condition at Bellevue hospital.  Harriet Nicholson is also at Bellevue and in stable condition.  Paul Nicholson, 72, is in stable condition at New York University Hospital.

Paul and Harriet Nicholson are British citizens who live in Portugal and Sonia Marra Nicholson and Helen Tamaski were living in Australia.

Three family members and the chopper pilot were almost immediately pulled ashore Tuesday afternoon while divers searched frantically for the final passenger.  Rescue personnel immediately began performing heart compressions on one of the individuals initially pulled from the water and who appeared to be unconscious.

Sonia Marra Nicholson was recovered more than two hours after the crash at 5 p.m. and pronounced dead.

"I just hope it is the only fatality and our prayers are with those in the hospital," New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The Bell 206 helicopter took off from a heliport at 34th Street.  Joy Garnett told ABC News's New York affiliate WABC-TV that she saw the chopper lift off and almost immediately begin to spin around several times and then plunge into the river.

"He took off and spun," one official said.  The pilot tried to turn it around and land, but he missed by 40 feet, officials said.  The chopper landed in 50 feet of water and sank within minutes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Fallen Navy SEAL’s Loyal Dog Gets a New Home

Hawkeye shown here next to his fallen master and Navy SEAL's casket. Courtesy: Lisa Pembleton/Facebook(RICKFORD, Iowa) -- Hawkeye, the loyal Labrador retriever who refused to leave his best friend and fallen Navy SEAL’s side, is going to a good home.

Navy SEAL Petty Officer Jon Tumilson, 35, was killed Aug. 6 in Afghanistan, after his Chinook was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade -- an attack that took the lives of 30 Americans, many of them members of the elite SEAL Team Six that captured and killed Osama Bin Laden.

At his Aug. 19 funeral in his hometown of Rockford, Iowa, Hawkeye had lain down by his coffin, refusing to budge.  Tumilson’s cousin Lisa Pembleton snapped a shot of the heart-wrenching scene, which promptly went viral online, touching Americans across the nation.

The Daily Mail reports that Hawkeye will be going to one of Tumilson’s good friends, Scott Nichols, who took care of him whenever Tumilson was deployed.

According to various news reports, Hawkeye may commemorate his master and all those fallen at an Iowa Hawkeyes game, by leading the college football players onto the field at one of two home games in November.

There is a Facebook page devoted to the memory of Tumilson, now filled with comments on the unbreakable bond between the two best friends.

“My heart is so heavy and filled with sadness,” wrote Michelle Praetorius Ovens.  “Thank you Jon for you service and ultimate sacrifice, you and all of the men that perished that day are true American Heroes.  I pray for comfort for your family and friends during this terribly difficult time."

“The picture of your beloved Hawkeye lying by your casket puts a lump in my throat and brings tears to my eyes," she went on to say.  "RIP and thank you again for your service.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Why Haven't Names of 30 Fallen US Soldiers Been Released?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The names of the 30 Americans killed in this weekend’s deadly helicopter crash in Afghanistan have still not been publicly released by the Pentagon as is standard practice.

Delays in these kinds of announcements are to be expected as the Defense Department has to abide by a law that requires 24 hours to have passed following next of kin notifications before the names can be released publicly.  This was passed by Congress as a protective measure to give families enough time to grieve without having to worry about media interviews.

Though it is Defense Department policy to release the names of all servicemembers who have died while deployed in the War on Terror, in this case, Defense officials say the names have not been released yet because no decision has been made about whether it would be prudent to release the names.

It appears some officials in the Special Operations community are opposed to the names being made public.  A defense official says some of the arguments they have made to the Defense Department involve ensuring the safety of family members of the special operations forces killed in the crash.

Twenty-five of the 30 servicemembers killed in Saturday’s crash were from the special operations community and most of the Navy SEALS killed were members of the elite SEAL Team 6 that participated in the Osama bin Laden raid last May.

Though SEALs killed in the crash did not participate in the bin Laden raid, there is concern that their families -- or potentially other Team 6 members -- might become potential targets.

The irony is that despite an official release of names by the Defense Department, the majority of the names have already appeared in local news outlets as family and friends react to the loss of a loved one.

And even though releasing the names of the fallen is Defense Department policy, a Defense Secretary can change policy or make an exemption as needed.

Defense officials say Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has been presented with arguments about the pros and cons of making the names public.  It will be interesting to see if Panetta decides to follow the current policy or heed the concerns of special operations commanders.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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