Federal investigators are examining the wreckage of a deadly helicopter crash which occurred in the Kern County.
The aircraft model is a 1975 Bell 206-B.
It crashed during foggy conditions in a vineyard near Delano. The pilot was killed.
Records show the helicopter is registered Maricopa Orchards L.L.C. of Fresno. The manager says the company leased it out to San Joaquin Helicopters, a business in Delano.
According to Ian Gregor, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration three helicopters departed the Delano Municipal Airport early Wednesday morning.
They set out to perform frost control on citrus orchards, meaning they use the propellers to circulate the air during freezing temperatures in order to warm up the crops.
After the work was complete, a woman piloting of one of the helicopters didn’t return to the base. So the pilot of another chopper notified emergency crews that her aircraft may have gone down.
”At the time visibility was very limited. The fog was pretty thick this morning, but we did search the area by ground and by air,” said Ray Pruitt of the Kern Co. Sheriff’s Dept.
Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters later found the helicopter wreckage and the woman’s body in a vineyard about five miles east of Highway 99. Her identity is not being released at this time.
The N.T.S.B. hopes to have a preliminary report for this crash in the next week or two, but determining a probable cause could take months.
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