There are five dead including one child in northeastern Pennsylvania after a helicopter crashed in a remote wooded area after departing from Tri-Cities Airport in Endicott. All five people on board perished in the accident.
The crash happened Saturday night after radar and communication contact with the helicopter was lost, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA stated the Robinson 66 helicopter was heading to Jake Arner Memorial Airport in Lehighton, Pa., between Wilkes-Barre and Allentown. After the radar and communication contact was lost, an alert notice was issued. The wreckage was discovered around 2 p.m. Sunday in a remote wooded area, about halfway between Endicott and Lehighton.
According to Trooper Adam Reed, five people died in the crash near Noxen, Wyoming County. Reed stated that he did not have additional information on those on board. Inclement weather had hampered search efforts.
State police and FAA personnel were still on the scene Sunday night, according to Reed. He stated that additional details will be released as the investigation progresses.
Wyoming County coroner Thomas Kukuchka said that the victims killed in the crash were four adults and one child. According to Kukuchka, those on board appear to have been a man and his son, a man and his daughter and the pilot.
The pilot, according to Kukuchka, reported he was losing altitude just before air traffic controllers lost track of the helicopter around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. The area, he stated, experienced strong storms on Saturday night, and rough weather also hampered search efforts.
According to Trooper Adam Reed, Pennsylvania State Police and FAA personnel were still on the scene Sunday night. Additional details will be released as the investigation progresses, he said.
The FAA states that the National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation.
Carl Beardsley, Commissioner of Aviation at the Greater Binghamton Airport, confirmed the helicopter took off from the Tri-Cities Airport.
The air traffic control tower at the Greater Binghamton Airport was in communication with the helicopter at the time of its departure, Beardsley said, adding that he was not aware of any issues reported at the time.
Beardsley said air traffic control at the Greater Binghamton Airport communicates with aircraft departing from the Tri-Cities Airport until they get to a certain elevation. He did not have information about the time the aircraft took off on Saturday evening.
According to Beardsley:
At this point, they’re telling me that, no, there were no issues at that point.”
The Tri-Cities Airport Manager, Gerard Corprew, said he was not at the Tri-Cities airport when the helicopter took off. However, other aviators witnessed a turbine helicopter matching the aircraft’s description picking up fuel and departing some time after 7 p.m. Saturday.
The airport has a voluntary sign-in log, Corprew said. The helicopter’s pilot did not leave information in the log.
Corprew stated that this was fairly common:
We get a lot of transient pilots coming through to pick up fuel.”
The FAA, according to a spokesman, does not provide the tail number or ownership information of an aircraft until it knows that family members of the people on the flight have been notified by law enforcement officials. The FAA hadn’t released that information by Sunday night.
The helicopter, according to the Robinson Helicopter Co. Web site, has a maximum cruise speed of 125 knots, or 144 miles per hour, a maximum operating altitude of 14,000 feet, and a maximum range of 325 nautical miles.
In a wooded area of northeastern Pennsylvania, authorities are reporting, was the scene of a tragic accident when five people, including one child, died in a helicopter crash.
Written by: Douglas Cobb