Preliminary NTSB report outlines what witnesses heard moments before helicopter crash that killed two WNY men


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report into the Jan. 9 helicopter crash in central Pennsylvania that killed Mark Croce and Michael Capriotto, two prominent local business leaders, was released Friday.

Croce, the pilot, was a longtime and well-known developer. He owned a number of local businesses, such as Buffalo Chophouse, the Curtiss Hotel, Statler City and the building that houses Dinosaur BBQ. Capriotto also owned a number of businesses.

The craft was a Robinson R-66. The NTSB states the helicopter experienced an “in-flight breakup” near Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania on Jan. 9 while headed from Baltimore to Buffalo.

The helicopter reached 2,300 feet altitude after takeoff around 8 p.m. and remained there for nearly 27 minutes, but at that point the aircraft began to descend, and 25 seconds later, was lost on radar.

The helicopter never sent out a distress call.

Two witnesses describe hearing thumping or booms before a loud bang. One said she saw the helicopter “struggling to fly.”

The NTSB says the helicopter did have a Rolls-Royce engine monitoring unit. That was taken from the scene to download data.

The investigation continues.

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