FAA Investigating Deadly Spokane Helicopter Crash - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

FAA Investigating Deadly Spokane Helicopter Crash

SPOKANE, Wash. - Investigators with the FAA are trying to figure out what caused the crash of a Robinson R22 helicopter in an East Spokane neighborhood that killed a student pilot. Authorities said the crash happened East of Felts Field around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Spokane County Sheriff's said it appears the chopper was returning to the airport when it lost power and the tail rotor came off, sending it crashing into the backyard of a home on the 3700 block of North Center. Witnesses reported the aircraft appeared to have suffered a mechanical problem before it crashed and scattered debris across the backyards of several residences. Although investigators believe they have located most of it, they cautioned nearby residents to report found wreckage to Crime Check rather than handling it.

A Robinson R22 is a two seat helicopter, but the pilot was flying alone when it crashed. The helicopter is owned by Inland Helicopter and company representatives were at the scene Wednesday evening. Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were notified of the crash.

Kami Kane and her two daughters were on a walk when they saw the helicopter fly over their heads. Kane said she heard a noise then saw the helicopter spin out of control before falling in the yard one door down from her home. She says the chopper came apart in the air before the crash.

"I saw a big chunk go off to the left and another come toward me," said Kane.

The crash makes her nervous knowing helicopters and planes fly overhead everyday. Her concern now is for the family who is missing a loved one.

"Someone's not coming home tonight. Someone's lost someone very important to them. There life is ending and our lives just go on," said Kane.

Authorities have not yet released the name or age of the pilot. His body was taken to the medical examiner's office a few hours after the crash.

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