The National Transportation Safety Board has released the preliminary accident report regarding the helicopter crash that killed prominent Western New York businessmen Mark Croce and Michael Capriotto in Pennsylvania.
According to the NTSB, Croce's Robinson R66 helicopter suffered a catastrophic "in-flight break up" destroying the aircraft before crashing in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, on January 9.
"The wreckage on the ground will tell the tale, but this is a highly unusual situation," John Nance, ABC World News and Good Morning America Aviation Analyst, said. He added, "One of the bedrock basics of accident investigation in aviation is you rule nothing in, you rule nothing out."
Witness on the ground reported hearing what appeared to be a helicopter in distress and a loud "boom," along with a flash of light, before the helicopter disappeared from view.
"Eyewitness reports have to be taken with a big grain of salt, but here they lead us down the road of the possibility of an engine coming apart in flight and possibly disassembling the helicopter itself," Nance said.
According to the report, weather conditions did not seem to be a factor in the crash.
Read the full preliminary report below:
The NTSB is continuing to investigate.