After the Maryland State Police Medivac Helicopter “Trooper 2” crashed in September and killed four people aboard, the National Transportation Safety Board has released an investigative report that largely blames pilot error in the Maryland helicopter accident.
The crash took place on September 28 in bad weather after being re-routed. The pilot reported problems with the radio signal in the minutes before the crash and in the minutes after the crash, emergency responders had difficulty locating the wreckage in dense woods. The helicopter was carrying five people, including two car accident victims. All in all, four were killed, including 59-year-old Stephen J. Bunker, the pilot; Trooper 34-year-old Mickey C. Lippy; 39-year-old Tonya Mallard, a volunteer emergency worker; and 17-yearold Ashley J. Younger, a recent high school graduate from Waldorf who was one of the car crash victims.
Many people believe that the NTSB acted too quickly in blaming the pilot and that there were many other problems that occurred on the night of the Maryland helicopter accident. Many blame the communication issues between the pilot and ground control – as well as the outdated weather reports used before the helicopter took off. Some point to the fact that pilot Stephen Bunker was extremely experience and qualified, while other point to the fact that the NTSB has a history of citing pilot error in cases where they do not want to take partial responsibility for an accident. Some think that the FAA holds at least partial accountability for the fatal copter accident.
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