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Helicopter Crash That Killed Seven Happened Shortly After Take Off

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The helicopter after it was brought to the surface. (©The Tribune)

By FARRAH JOHNSON

THE helicopter crash that killed American billionaire Chris Cline and six other passengers occurred shortly after take off, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported.

According to the board, the aircraft, which took off from Big Grand Cay, Abaco, on July 4, was in the air for one minute before it dropped 40-50 feet, and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean.

The helicopter was found upside down in “about 16 ft of water about 1.2 nm north-northeast of the departure point,” with all five of its main rotor blades and all four of its tail rotor blades separated.

While the NTSB did not provide a specific cause for the accident, the report states that a witness saw the helicopter spinning briefly before the crash occurred.

“Another witness, who was located about 1.6 nm (nautical miles) southwest of the accident site reported seeing the helicopter lift off and climb to between 40 and 50 ft above ground level; then shortly thereafter, he noted blue and white lights spinning to the left at a rate of about one to two seconds between rotations while descending,” the preliminary report said.

“He estimated that the helicopter rotated to the left three to four times. He then heard a ‘whoosh whoosh whoosh’ sound, and lost sight of the helicopter, which was followed by the sound of an impact.”

The report also noted that the witness went out on his boat with searchlights in an attempt to locate the helicopter, but was unsuccessful.

The NTSB said the Federal Aviation Administration “issued an alert notice for the overdue flight” almost 14 hours after the aircraft took off and about an hour later, it was located by local residents.

The helicopter, which was carrying the coal tycoon, his daughter, Kameron, 22, and five others, was on its way to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport to take two of the passengers to Florida for medical treatment.

The NTSB said that all of the wreckage recovered will be retained for further examination. A full report on the crash is expected in two years.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 8 months ago

You can say that again....eye witnesses to the incident but it took almost 14 hours for the FAA to issue an alert notice for the overdue flight. That helicopter, at 2:00 a.m., could only have been headed for an airport in southeastern area of Florida...Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Lauderdale Executive or West Palm Beach.

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B_I_D___ 1 year, 8 months ago

Yeah...something reeks there...Eyewitness observed it, went out on his boat in the darkness with search lights, yet it wasn't until 14 HOURS later alarm bells went off...something doesn't add up there.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 8 months ago

Drinking and flying are a most toxic combo, especially if the flying is done in a sophisticated large helicopter at 2:00 a.m. on a dark night. Toxicology reports may not be reliable or possible given the time the pilot's body was left in sea water, not to mention the high population of sharks in the crash area. There were two helicopter pilots onboard but it still remains unclear which of them was actually flying (had control) of the helicopter.

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John 1 year, 8 months ago

Strange that an ‘eyewitness ‘ monitored the crash with so much detail. In fact even went out in his boat in a search effort but failed to report the incident even to local authorities. Even though the helicopter in question is one that had issues with the tail end failing and causing crashes, this accident needs full investigation. But no report for fourteen hours on what was supposed to be an emergency trip.

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