ELBA, N.Y. (WROC) — The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report on the helicopter crash which killed two pilots in Genesee County.
The Mercy Flight helicopter crashed near Edgerton and Norton Roads around 1:00 p.m. on April 26. Investigators said it happened during a training mission.
James Sauer, 60, of Churchville, and Stewart Dietrick, 60, of Texas were killed in the crash.
According to the NTSB report released Tuesday, the helicopter left the Genesee County Airport in Batavia around 11:10 a.m., then performed a number of maneuvers nearby. The helicopter then flew eastward, returning to the airport to perform maneuvers for about 30 minutes. At that point, the helicopter left the airport traffic pattern.
Witnesses told NTSB investigators he saw the helicopter flying away, then heard a loud bang and saw it descend out of control. Another witness reported seeing it hover before it “fell apart.”
Investigators said the helicopter caught fire when it crashed. The fire was put out “quickly” by first responders.
The report says the “tail boom” of the helicopter was found 390 feet away from the wreckage.
The NTSB’s full investigation is expected to take months to complete.