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6 killed after Vietnam era helicopter crash in West Virginia during ‘Huey’ reunion

Written by Javed Iqbal

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According to authorities, six people were killed after a Vietnamese-era helicopter crashed while on a tour of West Virginia on Wednesday night.

The Bell UH-1B helicopter, known as a “Huey”, crashed around 1 p.m. 17.00 on a rural roadway in Logan County, W.Va., according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The helicopter came down near Blair Mountain in a mountainous part of the state.

The plane had been used to provide tourist flights around the area, said Ray Bryant, chief operating officer of the Logan Emergency Management Authority. WSAZ. The helicopter, owned by Marpat Aviation, was part of an annual reunion this week for enthusiasts of the historic “Huey” aircraft.

The names of the victims have not been released, but Bryant indicated to local media that they were not from the area.

The cause of the accident is still unclear, according to authorities. Logan County Office of Emergency Management had issued a severe thunderstorm for the county at the time of the incident.

“After initial efforts arrived at the scene, they were later able to confirm that six people were fatally killed in this crash,” Sonya Porter, deputy director of the Logan County Office of Emergency Management, told The Washington Post.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board announced that they are investigating the incident. NTSB said that it was sending a team of five investigators and a family assistance specialist to the scene of the accident.

Mike Holbrook, the owner and operator of Marpat Aviation, did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Thursday.

The Bell UH-1B helicopter was manufactured in 1962 and used during the Vietnam War, according to the FAA. The Huey who crashed had also starred in several movies, including “Die Hard,” “The Rock” and “Baywatch.”

The seventh annual Huey reunion started Tuesday and is scheduled to last until Sunday Marpat’s website. Enthusiasts of the historic plane could make a reservation at Logan County Airport to fly the helicopter without being a pilot, the website says. A $ 250 donation was required for those who wanted to fly for 30 minutes to help cover the fuel. Those who wanted to could do so by making a small donation.

“We want all helicopter enthusiasts (especially Huey) to have the opportunity to fly / ride in this historic helicopter,” the website states.

Porter told The Post that in addition to the Huey reunion, the City of Logan’s Freedom Festival also took place.

“I do not know if they attended these events or where they took off from,” she said.

When crews arrived on Route 17 near Kelly Hollow shortly after the crash, the helicopter was still on fire, Bryant told WSAZ. Authorities indicated that the front of the helicopter appeared to have crashed through a crash barrier and into the mountainside. Bryant told local media that one of the owners of the helicopter arrived at the scene but did not specify if it was Holbrook.

“Everyone is sad that this has happened in our county and they are desperate about the incident,” Porter said. West Virginia MetroNews.

Gov. Jim Justice (RW.Va.) tweeted that he and his wife, Cathy, “prayed for the families of those killed in this tragic helicopter crash.”

The road is temporarily closed and it is unclear when it will reopen. WCHS reported.

Witnesses told of the intensity of the fire after the crash. Bobbi Childs, who lives about a mile from where the helicopter crashed, told WSAZ she saw at least one person trapped in the plane when the flames had overtaken it.

“I ran as fast as I could and I went under the crash barrier and I went up to the helicopter,” Childs said. “But the fire was just so hot, so intense, and that guy didn’t come from there.”

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Javed Iqbal

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