ELBA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The National Transportation Safety Board provided an update Wednesday afternoon in the Town of Elba, where a Mercy Flight helicopter crashed Tuesday afternoon, killing two people on board.
NTSB Air Safety Investigator Aaron McCarter said the preliminary report on the crash will be completed in 10 days, a factual report will be available in 12 months and the probable cause will be signed off by the NTSB members shortly after. The NTSB will be on scene for 3-5 days.
The investigation will look at “the human, the machine and the environment,” McCarter added. “We’re looking at familiarity with the machine, how much experience they have in this particular machine, in addition to all the other aircraft they have flown.”
The helicopter was flying for about 105 minutes when witnesses observed the helicopter at an altitude of 2,000 feet, heard a loud boom and saw it fall. The wreckage is spread out an area of about 2,000 feet, McCarter said.
The wreckage will be sent to a facility in Clayton, Delaware, to assist in determining how the helicopter came apart. The helicopter wasn’t equipped with a “black box” flight recorder, but investigators hope data collection units onboard are intact and are able to be downloaded.
The Mercy Flight helicopter crashed around 1 p.m. near Norton and Edgerton roads during a training exercise. Pilot James Sauer of Churchville, N.Y., and Bell pilot Stewart Dietrick of Prosper, Texas died in the crash.
“It goes without saying that our attention needs to be focused on the families of those lost and on our own employees as we deal with this unspeakable tragedy,” Mercy Flight President Margaret Ferrentino said Wednesday. “This is a very dark day for the Mercy Flight family, we are so grateful for the expressions of love, concern and support expressed by many.”
You can watch the update in the video player above.