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March 9, 2012
Fuel exhaustion likely led to the October 15, 2010, crash of a Missouri Highway Patrol helicopter, Federal accident investigators concluded, according to Saint Louis Today.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the pilot's "inadequate preflight planning and decision making" resulted in the Bell 206B Jet Ranger running out of fuel and losing engine power.
A 47-year-old Missouri Highway Patrol Sergeant was killed when the helicopter plunged into the Kehrs Mill Trails subdivision.
The sergeant had told other officers that he was low on fuel.
One of the officers said the helicopter's fuel gauge was "halfway between E and 25 gallons" when the sergeant flew alone to the Spirit of St. Louis Airport in the Chesterfield Valley, NTSB reports show.
The helicopter crashed, just missing some houses. Nobody on the ground was injured.
In the Safety Board's "probable cause" report, investigators added that the pilot's medical records showed that he had a history of depression, anxiety, and obstructive sleep apnea and was taking medication.
As part of the pilot's airman medical application in 2010 or earlier, none of the conditions had been reported to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The report concluded that the pilot's improper judgment—in "acting as a pilot with disqualifying medical conditions"—also contributed to the accident.
If you or someone you know has had his or her safety compromised on a aircraft, the aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy may be able to help.
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