Deadly Helicopter Crash in Nuevo
RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A turbine-driven helicopter that crashed on a Nuevo hillside, killing the pilot and passenger, had departed only 10 minutes earlier, with no distress broadcasts from the aircraft before it went down, according to a report released Tuesday by federal investigators.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary findings on the March 24 crash of the Bell 407, tail number N14Z, did not provide any clues as to what might have caused the seven-seat chopper to slam into the 2,560-foot hill in the area of Chastity and Pulsar View roads.
The pilot, Mark Clayton Carter, 61, and his passenger, Dennis Lee Foster, 62, both of Murrieta, were killed on impact.
Federal Aviation Administration records show only Carter held a rotorcraft pilot’s license, and he had undergone his last aero-medical exam in October. There was no clear indication whether he owned or had leased the helicopter, which is often used in short-haul transportation, utility operations and law enforcement.
According to the NTSB, the two men departed French Valley Airport at 12:05 p.m. and were northeast-bound, en route to Big Bear Airport, “as part of a weekend skiing trip.”
The helicopter traveled 18 miles, then plowed into the hill.
“If an iPhone or Apple Watch detects a severe car crash, and the user is unresponsive, the iPhone will attempt to contact emergency services with its location,” according to the NTSB report. “A family member received a crash detection notification from the pilot’s iPhone shortly after the accident, and crash detection notification was forwarded to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.”
A sheriff’s STAR-9 helicopter crew was the first to reach the crash site about 12:40 p.m., alerting Cal Fire personnel of what had happened and how to get to the downed chopper, which was completely destroyed.
“The fragmented helicopter wreckage came to rest about 100 feet downslope in an area of rocky, hilly terrain on the north facing side of the hill,” the NTSB said.
Paramedics hiked to the location and pronounced the two men dead at the scene.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation and will be addressed in the NTSB’s final report, which may not be completed and available for another two years.
For More Riverside County News visit www.zapinin.com.