Wed, Oct 03, 2007
Finds Water In Fuel Led To Engine Failure
Water in the carburetor likely caused an April 2006 helicopter
crash that claimed the lives of a Chelsea, MI police chief and fire
In its probable cause report on the accident, the National
Transportation Safety Board said investigators found water in the
helicopter's carburetor. The report also says a sample taken from
the pilot's fuel tank at his home showed a layer of water and
The NTSB says the water made its way into the tank, causing the
engine to fail.
As ANN reported, 43-year-old
police Chief Scott Sumner and 28-year-old fire Captain Matt Tuttle
were aboard Tuttle's private helicopter on April 13, 2006,
searching for a man who ran from a traffic stop -- a possible
escapee from a nearby county -- when the helicopter went down.
Witnesses said the Robinson R-22 Beta (type shown
above) "dropped out of the sky" and impacted terrain in
Washtenaw County, MI, about five miles west of Ann Arbor. The helo
impacted in a vertical orientation, with little if any evidence of
forward motion, and little rotation of the rotors.
One eyewitness told reporters after the crash, "It was almost
like he knew something was wrong. He was going a little slower, no
smoke, no weird noises... and all of a sudden it just dropped
really, really fast. And all we hear is this big crash."
Tuttle had volunteered use of his chopper when he heard the
police were searching for the suspect.
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