Warning: Video contains potentially disturbing content
MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WIVB) – A doorbell camera outside a suburban Pennsylvania home captured the moments before a helicopter carrying two successful and prominent Western New York businessmen crashed, killing them both.
The video was collected by the National Transportation Safety Board as part of its investigation into the January 2020 crash that killed Mark Croce and Michael Capriotto.
In its final report on the crash issued earlier this summer, the NTSB said Croce’s helicopter rolled to the left until it was inverted before a main rotor blade hit the tailboom, causing an in-flight breakup. Investigators did not determine why the helicopter pitched and rolled in the first place. However they said other pilots in the area reported there were sudden shifts in the wind that night, and there was an 87% probability of “moderate-to-severe” turbulence.
In the 23-second video, which was captured from a camera outside a home on Stone Run Dr. in Mechanicsburg, Pa., the helicopter can be seen for seven seconds before it disappears behind a neighboring home. It is not seen crashing to the ground in the video.
The footage also contains audio, which the NTSB’s final report referenced.
“The study revealed the pattern of spectral peaks generated by the interaction of the tail rotor and main rotor wake were present through the first 12 seconds of the video, indicating that both main and tail rotors were operating at their normal rotational speeds through that time,” the report said. “After that time, the contribution of the main rotor to the sound spectrum was no longer present.
“The study also showed that between 11 and 13 seconds into the video, a large signal level was recorded. The study determined that the large signal level was likely due to the separation of the main rotor from the airframe and was the transient event that significantly changed the spectral characteristics of the engine sound.”
Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2017. See more of his work here.