Mesa helicopter crash

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board on last month’s fatal helicopter crash in Mesa notes a trail of parts that came off the chopper before it went down.

The NTSB report released Thursday doesn’t list the possible cause of the April 24 crash and relies on witness reports and an examination of the debris field by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector.

It's unclear when the board's final report on the crash will be released.

One of the two people aboard the Bell “Huey” UH-1H helicopter died in the crash in Mesa’s Sherwood Park.

Flight records show the helicopter took off from Blythe, California, and was headed to the Falcon Field airport in Mesa.

Witnesses reported seeing parts of the helicopter coming off in mid-air, causing it to spin out of control and crash to the ground.

The NTSB report said witnesses also reported seeing white smoke coming from the rear rotor area and the tail rotor separating from the helicopter.

An FAA inspector who viewed the half-mile debris field reported finding glass fragments from a navigation light on the helicopter’s vertical stabilizer on the ground along with the tail rotor assembly and input pinion gear assembly.

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