HERTFORD, N.C. (WAVY/WNCN) — The National Transportation Safety Board says audio and video recordings were recovered from a Duke Life Flight helicopter that crashed in North Carolina.
According to an NTSB report, the helicopter, which was equipped with an on-board audio and video recording system, was thermally damaged, but the memory device survived the crash. The unit was sent to the NTSB vehicle recorder laboratory for examination.
The report reveals that a significant amount of the helicopter survived the crash intact. The helicopter was kept for examination by the NTSB.
Four people were killed in the Sept. 8 crash in Perquimans County. Authorities said the helicopter went down in the area of Swamp Road and Sandy Cross Road.
Duke Health News later identified three employees killed in the crash: Kris Harrison, R.N., Flight Nurse; Crystal Sollinger, R.N., Flight Nurse, and Jeff Burke, Pilot in Command.
Mary Bartlett, 70, who was being treated in the helicopter, also died in the crash.
According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, multiple witnesses reported seeing smoke trailing behind the helicopter while it was in flight.
The report states that witnesses described the smoke as “heavy” or “dark,” while others reported the color as “black,” “dark blue” or “blue.”
One witness reported that the helicopter was “hovering” and “not traveling forward” while it was a “couple of hundred feet” above the wind turbine farm. Another witness reported hearing a “popping noise.” The report states that he then observed the helicopter turn left, then right. It then descended quickly and appeared “in control” with the rotors turning before he lost sight of it.
The helicopter burst into flames upon crashing into the field, authorities said.
The crash is still under investigation.
Click here to read the full preliminary report compiled by the NTSB.