A helicopter ride to tour the Hoover Dam took a fatal turn last week when the helicopter crashed in Nevada. Sadly, the pilot and all four passengers died in the devastating accident. The details of what caused the crash are still under investigation.
When the helicopter took off from the airport, there was no indication that anything was wrong. According to the initial report released by the National Transportation Safety Board, the weather and visibility conditions were good.
All the companies in the area follow the same route when giving tours, so the route is very standard. Controllers noted that the helicopter was following the correct route and everything appeared to be operating smoothly until just before the accident. The helicopter reportedly ascended to 4,100 feet and made a quick left turn. Neither of these actions is considered normal. The helicopter veered off course before crashing into a ravine.
There were no reports of a distress call being made before the crash and there is little information on what caused the erratic behavior exhibited before the crash. Whether it was the fault of the pilot or something was wrong with the Eurocopter AS350 helicopter remains to be seen. Further investigations may uncover additional details.
The helicopter company that owns these helicopter tours was also involved in another fatal crash in 2003. Seven people died when another of their helicopters crashed in Arizona. When and if more details of this most recent crash emerge, the company may be held liable for the wrongful death of the victims.
Source: CNN, “Five dead in helicopter crash near Las Vegas,” Dec. 7, 2011