Evidence of bird strike found in chopper crash

By: NEW ORLEANS (AP)
By: NEW ORLEANS (AP)

Investigators have found evidence that a bird may have struck a helicopter before it crashed into a Louisiana swamp last month, killing eight people.

Among those who died in the Jan. 4 crash was Thomas Ballenger of Eufaula, Ala.

A report issued Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board doesn't conclude that a bird strike caused the deadly crash near Morgan City. But tests on the wreckage of the Sikorsky S-76C found microscopic remains of a hawk-like bird on the pilot's side of the chopper's windscreen. Investigators also found parts of feathers under a windscreen seal and in an engine.

The NTSB says its probe continues.

The helicopter was carrying workers to a Shell Oil Co. platform in the Gulf of Mexico when it crashed about 100 miles southwest of New Orleans. The crash left a lone survivor critically injured.


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