NTSB team to begin on-site investigation into Logan County helicopter crash

LOGAN, W.Va. — A five-member team of the National Transportation Safety Board is due in Logan County by mid-afternoon Thursday to begin an investigation in to the Huey helicopter crash that killed six people.

The helicopter involved in the June 22 crash, pictured during the Run for the Wall event in Nitro on May 25. (Photo courtesy of Joe Stevens)

The helicopter went down at just before 5 p.m. Wednesday. It crashed on state Route 17 northeast of the Logan County Airport near Kelly Hollow.

Logan County Deputy Emergency Manager Sonja Porter said FAA and state police secured the scene Wednesday night awaiting the arrival of NTSB investigators.

Porter said the wreckage remains partially in the highway.

“It covers all the way across both lanes and over the guardrail and a little bit into a grassy area,” Porter said during a Thursday appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”

A photo taken by some of the first on the scene showed the front part of the helicopter engulfed in flames and the tail section on the highway.

The aircraft was believed to be part of this week’s Huey Reunion happening at the Logan County Airport sponsored by Marpat Aviation. The reunion offers tourist rides.

According to the Federation Aviation Administration the tail number on the helicopter that crashed is registered to Gordon Prescott of Princeton. The helicopter was built in 1962.

The Huey Reunion is in its 7th year.

Porter said there are unconfirmed reports that at least two of the victims are from the local area.

“I can’t officially say that anybody is local but from Facebook posts of our local residents they are reporting that their families were on it,” Porter said. “At this time that is not official and it will have to come from proper authorities,”

Peter Knudson

NTSB Spokesman Peter Knudson said the agency will have a preliminary report posted within 15 days. A full investigation will take several months followed by a final report. Knudson said he’s confident investigators will be able to determine what caused the crash.

“We have a pretty good record of being able to determine what were the events that led up to the accident along with any contributing factors,” Knudson said. “We won’t spectulate. We will only go as far as the data takes us.”

There are unconfirmed reports that the helicopter may have clipped power lines as part of the crash. Porter said first responders did report there were power lines down but there was no confirmation whether or not that contributed to what happened.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin issued a statement Thursday morning:

“Gayle and I are devastated to hear of the deaths of six people killed in a horrific helicopter crash in Logan County. This is a heartbreaking time for the families, friends and loved ones of those in the crash, and I know our entire state feels this loss. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and my staff and I stand prepared to support the Logan County authorities, first responders and entire community during this time of need.”

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito responded on social media.

“Devastating news out of Logan County last night. Praying for the family members of those involved and our first responders on the scene.”

Gov. Jim Justice was the first to respond Wednesday night.

“Cathy and I are praying for the families of those killed in this tragic helicopter crash.”

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