Federal investigators are looking into a helicopter crash that killed two utility workers and injured two others in upstate New York last week during a routine inspection.
The helicopter crash occurred Tuesday, Oct. 27 in Beekmantown, New York, just a few miles south of the Canadian border while a crew working for Northline Utilities was conducting an aerial inspection of power lines in the area.
According to CBS News, the Aerospatiale AS355F2 helicopter became caught in some power lines about 40 feet above the ground, triggering electrical shorts and explosions. All four men jumped from the burning helicopter, plunging about 40 feet to the ground.
“They jumped out,” a man working in a nearby garage who witnessed the helicopter crash told the Press-Republican. “It was either jump out or burn to death.” The witness pulled the men to safety before the burning helicopter fell.
Two of the men did not survive the accident and the other two were taken to the University of Vermont Health Network, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital and released the next day.
Burlington, Vermont’s WCAX Channel 3 said authorities identified the two men who died in the helicopter crash as Pilot Robert Hoban Jr., 56, of Shamong, New Jersey, and passenger Jeremy Kearns, 30, of Massena, New York.
The two men who were injured were Benjamin McAllister, 30, of Hopkinton, New York, and Scott Fabia, 34, of Hyde Park, New York.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the helicopter was owned by Catalyst Aviation LLC of Hammonton, New Jersey, CBS News reported citing State Police.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent a team of investigators to probe the helicopter crash. It could take six to nine months for the agency to complete its investigation and issue a final report. A preliminary report is expected sometime this week.