The NTSB has released its preliminary report of the air medical helicopter crash in Hazelhurst, Wisconsin. The crash killed three passengers, and the cause still remains unclear.
Investigators say the GPS signal of the helicopter vanished just before 11 p.m. April 26. The wreckage was found in a wooded area around 2:15 a.m. in Hazelhurst. The site of the crash was 12 mi south of the hospital where the emergency responders were located.
According to the report, the engine was found on the ground and was separated from the fuselage. The compression blades of the turboshaft engine exhibited nick and gouge damage consistent with foreign object ingestion. The turbine blades had silver-colored deposits.
Investigators believe the engine was working until impact. They did not find indications of a fire.
The report also notes weather conditions were clear during the helicopter's flight, with 10-mile visibility.
The day before the crash, the helicopter had regular 100- and 600-hour inspections. The helicopter was not equipped with a vehicle engine multifunction display or a digital electronic control unit. It was equipped with an enhanced ground proximity warning system.
The pilot, Rico Caruso, had passed all recent training and held the appropriate licenses.
The preliminary report presents the early-known facts and observations. It does not identify or speculate on the cause of the crash. The final report could take up to two years to complete.