West Virginia helicopter crash – live: Six dead after invite to pilot ‘oldest flying Huey’ without licence

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A ‘Huey’ helicopter flying over California

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A ‘Huey’ helicopter flying over California

” src=”https://static.independent.co.uk/2022/06/23/10/newFile-3.jpg?quality=75&width=982&height=726&auto=webp” srcset=”https://static.independent.co.uk/2022/06/23/10/newFile-3.jpg?quality=75&width=320&auto=webp&crop=982:726,smart 320w, https://static.independent.co.uk/2022/06/23/10/newFile-3.jpg?quality=75&width=640&auto=webp&crop=982:726,smart 640w”>

A ‘Huey’ helicopter flying over California

(Tony Webster via WikiCommons Creative Commons licence 2.0)

A Vietnam War-era helicopter from the film Die Hard collided with a highway in West Virginia killing all six people onboard and left no survivors, authorities in Logan County have said.

Ray Bryant, the Chief of Operations for the Logan Emergency Management Authority, told reporters on Wednesday evening that the helicopter crashed on Route 17 after leaving the nearby Logan County Airport, where it is based.

It remains unclear what caused the Vietnam War-era Bell UH-1B helicopter to come down, authorities said, and an investigating involving the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSA) is now underway.

The helicopter was being flown by enthusiasts for a charity event, The New York Times reported.

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FAA yet to verify aircraft number

In a statement provided to The Independent, the FAA said on Thursday that it was yet to verify the aircraft registration number of the helicopter that crashed in Logan County.

“After investigators verify the aircraft registration number at the scene, the FAA will release it (usually on the next business day)”,” the agency said.

The federal aviation body added that neither it or the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), who are leading the investigation into the crash, will be identifying the victims. The local sheriff’s office is likely to do so however.

Gino Spocchia23 June 2022 16:55

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Crash biggest seen by local official in 30 years

Ray Bryant, an emergency management chief for Logan County, West Virginia, said the crashed helicopter was possibly the worst he had scene in his 30-year career.

Mr Bryant said on Wednesday he had seen “no crashes of this magnitude,” according to The New York Times.

It came as a witness recalled running-up to the downed aircraft “but the fire was just so hot, so intense,” so she could not get close enough to save a trapped man.

Gino Spocchia23 June 2022 16:25

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Everything we know already about the helicopter crash

From where the Vietnam War-era helicopter crashed to who was onboard and its flying history, here’s everything we know about what happened:

Gino Spocchia23 June 2022 15:55

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Helicopter was ‘probably oldest’ of its kind

The owners of the crashed “Huey” helicopter claim the aircraft was “quite probably the oldest flying Huey in the world”, in an “about page” on their website.

Mapat Aviation say the Bell UH-1B helicopter was deployed to Vietnam in 1962 before joining the 114th Assault Helicopter Company: “The Knights of the Sky” in Vinh Long, Vietnam.

The aircraft served in Vietnman for nearly a decade before returning to the United States in 1971, and in recent decades has been used for tourism flights and films – including Die Hard and Baywatch.

It was known affectionately as “Miss Fit”, which was painted on the helicopter body.

Gino Spocchia23 June 2022 15:25

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Witness says one passenger was trapped

Bobbi Childs, a Logan County resident who witnessed the crash, told CNN affiliate WSAZ that the helicopter seemed to be out of control and crashed.

Ms Childs said she raced to the scene and when she got there, she saw at least one person was trapped in the helicopter, which was alight.

“I ran as fast as I could go and I went under the guardrail and I went up to the helicopter,” she told the local news outlet. “But the fire was just so hot, so intense, and that guy didn’t make it out of there.”

Gino Spocchia23 June 2022 14:55

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FAA and NTSB due to visit wreckage site today

A reporter for WSAZ at the scene of the helicopter crash in Logan County on Thursday morning says investigators from the FAA and NTSB are scheduled to visit the crash site in the coming hours.

Shannan Litton also said the wreckage of the Vietnam War-era aircraft remains where it crashed on Wednesday evening, citing crews at the scene.

Gino Spocchia23 June 2022 14:25

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Helicopters riders ‘did not need to be pilots’

The charity event at Logan County Airport was the seventh annual “Huey Reunion” organised by the downed helicopter’s owners, Mapat Aviation.

According to the company’s website, the event had started on 21 June and was running until Sunday.

Those aviation enthusiasts who wanted to fly the 1962-built helicopter were able to do so without being a pilot and a $250 donation for fuel, Mapat said. It remains unknown who was flying the aircraft when it crashed, killing six people.

The Independent has approached the company for comment.

Gino Spocchia23 June 2022 13:55

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Victims were not local, authorities say

According to authorities, the six people killed in the helicopter crash in Logan County, West Virginia, were not locals.

Ray Bryant, the chief of the Logan County emergency ambulance authority, told news outlet WSAZ that while the passengers have not been identified, they were not local.

They were thought to have been riding the helicopter as part of a charity event at Logan County Airport honouring the Vietnam War-era aircraft.

Gino Spocchia23 June 2022 13:30

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Helicopter was ‘in flames’

Ray Bryant, the chief of the Logan County emergency ambulance authority, told local news outlet WSAZ the helicopter was in flames when first responders arrived at the scene on Wednesday evening.

The helicopter, which crashed near the Route 17 state highway along Blair Mountain at about 5pm, was eventually put out by firefighters, Mr Bryant added.

The road was expected to remain closed for at least 24 hours as investigators carry-out their work and the wreckage is cleared.

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The crash occurred along Route 17 in Logan County

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The crash occurred along Route 17 in Logan County

(Google Maps)

Gino Spocchia23 June 2022 13:05

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Gov Jim Justice ‘praying’ for families of victims

West Virginia governor Jim Justice tweeted on Wednesday evening that his thoughts were with the families of the victims of the helicopter crash.

Gino Spocchia23 June 2022 12:40

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