FAA, NTSB investigating southern W.Va. helicopter crash that killed 6
LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – State Route 17 in the Kelly Mountain area of Logan County remains closed Thursday following a deadly helicopter crash.
Ray Bryant, the Chief of Operations for the Logan Emergency Ambulance Authority, confirmed six people died as the Bell UH-1B model came down early Wednesday evening onto the roadway.
An NTSB investigator said the helicopter, better know to many as the “Huey,” had been airborne for about 15 minutes prior to the 911 call that it had crashed. That was just after 5 p.m. The investigator said the NTSB will be looking for tangible evidence as the wreckage is recovered. They expect that process will be underway Friday.
The NTSB investigator said three pilots were aboard the aircraft, all qualified to fly the helicopter, as well as the wife of another pilot who was not aboard, and two passengers.
Workers at Logan County airport said Thursday MARPAT Aviation, which has a hanger located at the airport, was operating the Huey flights on Wednesday.
On Thursday, according to the West Virginia Division of Highways, crews were still working to remove the helicopter from the roadway due to downed power lines; however, no customers nearby are experiencing an outage. Appalachian Power reports it is not a company line.
The West Virginia Division of Highways reports a state trooper stayed at the scene of the wreckage all night.
The identities of the victims haven’t been confirmed.
Bryant says the helicopter was a Vietnam-era Huey based out of the Logan airport and was used for tourist flights.
Bryant says at this time it’s not confirmed exactly what went wrong during the flight. The helicopter crashed onto state Route 17 along Blair Mountain. Bryant says the aircraft was on fire when crews arrived at the scene, and firefighters put the fire out.
Bryant says one of the owners of the helicopter showed up at the scene after the crash.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating. The road is blocked off about a mile from the crash site.
Bobbi Childs, who lives about a mile from where the crash happened, said she called 911 and rushed to the scene. She said she ran back crying, traumatized by what she had seen.
People are asked to avoid the area.
The FAA reports that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be in charge of the crash investigation.
Thursday, officials with the Federal Aviation Administration and members of the National Transportation Safety Board were on the way to the site from Washington, D.C., according to WV DOH.
NTSB should arrive at the crash site around 5 p.m.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., released the following statement on the deaths of six people in a helicopter crash in Logan County.
“Gayle and I are devastated to hear of the deaths of six people killed in a horrific helicopter crash in Logan County. This is a heartbreaking time for the families, friends and loved ones of those in the crash, and I know our entire state feels this loss. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and my staff and I stand prepared to support the Logan County authorities, first responders and entire community during this time of need.”
Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., wrote the following on Twitter Thursday:
“Devastating news out of Logan County last night. Praying for the family members of those involved and our first responders on the scene.”
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice posted the following on Twitter Wednesday evening:
“Cathy and I are praying for the families of those killed in this tragic helicopter crash.”
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