Just as “texting while driving” has become a national safety concern, now the National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed that text messages received and sent by the pilot of a medical helicopter were at least partly the reason for a helicopter crash.
Four people died in the helicopter crash, including the pilot, a paramedic, a nurse and the patient who was being transported to the hospital. The helicopter also lost fuel, which contributed to the crash, and failure to check the fuel levels has been blamed as one of the reasons. Further, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the pilot sent at least five texts, and received two texts during the flight. Investigators believe that the distracting texts led to failure to check the fuel levels at the time of takeoff. Federal aviation rules require that helicopters carry enough fuel in reserves to help the aircraft carry on for at least 20 minutes beyond the original destination.
The NTSB hopes that “texting while flying” will not become a national concern in the same vein as “texting while driving.”