A helicopter that crashed on Catalina Island nearly a month ago, killing its pilot, hit the side of a hill at an elevation of more than 1,000 feet, the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday.
Philip Shu Chu Yang, 60, of Palos Verdes Estates was found dead about 10 a.m. on June 18, when the wreckage was discovered, according to the coroner’s office and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
According to the NTSB’s Aviation Accident Preliminary Report, the Robinson R44 helicopter crashed about 5:30 p.m. on June 17.
“The pilot was fatally injured,” the NTSB reported. “The helicopter was registered to and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed within the area and no flight plan was filed.”
The flight left from Long Beach Airport at 4:57 p.m. on June 17, the NTSB reported.
“An Alert Notification was issued for the accident helicopter when a family member of the pilot reported that the helicopter failed to return to (the airport),” the NTSB reported. “The local law enforcement commenced search and rescue operations throughout the north area of Santa Catalina Island and the wreckage was located on the morning of June 18, 2019.
“Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted the side of a hill at an elevation of 1,015 ft mean sea level. Initial radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration depicted the accident helicopter descending towards the terrain at 117 knots (nautical miles per hour) before the impact,” the NTSB reported. “The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.”
The speed in “knots” is equivalent to about 135 mph. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
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