Pilot Error Blamed for Crash

Federal investigators say the October 2004 crash of an Airheart air ambulance in Walton County was caused by pilot error.

The pilot, a nurse and paramedic died when the air ambulance crashed in Choctawhatchee Bay near the Clyde Wells Bridge on US 331.

The chopper and crew left their base in Santa Rosa Beach in bad weather to answer a medical call in DeFuniak Springs.

The weather was so bad, the pilot turned back, and they crashed on the return trip.

The National Transportation Safety Board released the final investigation report this week.

A witness saw the chopper head into a cloud and then make a sharp descent toward the water.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it found no sign of a lightning strike and no mechanical problems on the Airheart Air Ambulance.

Investigators say the pilot became spatially disoriented in the rough weather and lost control of the aircraft, and that his decision to fly in poor weather conditions was also a factor.


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