6:00: Morning News

Federal investigators publish preliminary report on Logan County helicopter crash

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday released a preliminary report regarding a June 22 helicopter crash in Logan County, in which investigators noted the aircraft struck a rock face during its flight.

Six people died in the incident; investigators identified the victims as a private pilot, two “pilot rated” passengers and three other people.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the helicopter struck a rock face around four miles east of Logan County Airport. The incident occurred 15 minutes after the helicopter’s takeoff from the airport.

The aircraft “came to rest partially inverted on its right side on an asphalt road” after hitting the rock face. Investigators stated the cockpit and cabin landed on the road and guardrail before being consumed by flames.

The preliminary report notes there are no known witnesses to the crash.

Investigators also noted additional wreckage, including pieces of Plexiglass and part of a tail rotor blade, were found 40 feet above the wreckage on a ledge of the rock face.

MARPAT Aviation LLC, a Logan County-based company, operated the aircraft, a Bell UH-1B helicopter. The military began using this type of helicopter, nicknamed the “Huey” helicopter, during the Vietnam War. According to the company’s website, the 114th Assault Helicopter Company — “The Knights of the Sky” — used the helicopter involved in the wreck until the aircraft’s return to the United States in 1971. The helicopter was later used in multiple films.

Flights involving the helicopter were part of an annual Huey Reunion at Logan County Airport, in which people could make a donation to fly the military helicopter with a safety pilot. Other people could ride in the aircraft after making a contribution.

The flight was the final scheduled flight of the day.

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