WASHINGTON (WKBW) — The National Transportation Safety Board released Tuesday its final report on a helicopter crash that killed Western New York businessmen Mark Croce and Michael Capriotto.
A severe left roll resulted in the main rotor blade coming into contact with the frame of the helicopter, causing the aircraft to break apart midair, the report found.
Photo: The separated main rotor mast with main rotor blades.
The auto-pilot may have struggled with moderate-to-severe turbulence at the time of the incident.
The pilot, Croce, was not likely impaired or incapacitated at the time of the crash, according to the report.
Several additional factors could not be ruled out, but none would have prevented the pilot from overriding the autopilot and manually flying the helicopter, the NTSB found.
The helicopter was not equipped with a flight data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder. The NTSB has since recommended helicopter manufacturer’s install a crash-resistant flight recorder system.
Witnesses reported hearing and seeing a low-flying helicopter that was “struggling to fly.” One woman said she heard a loud “boom” and saw a flash of light, while another neighbor said the crash shook his house.
Read the full NTSB report here: