Texting implicated in 2011 US helicopter crash

Pilot sent messages before and during flight but had failed to refuel before take-off

National Transportation Safety Board documents show a US pilot exchanged 20 text messages with an acquaintance over a span of less than two hours before and during a helicopter flight he was piloting. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

National Transportation Safety Board documents show a US pilot exchanged 20 text messages with an acquaintance over a span of less than two hours before and during a helicopter flight he was piloting. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

Tue, Apr 9, 2013, 07:52

Evidence gathered in an investigation of a medical helicopter crash in the US that killed four people has raised questions about whether the pilot was distracted by personal text messages when he failed to refuel the machine before taking off.

The incident near Mosby, Missouri, on August 26th, 2011, appears to be the first commercial aircraft accident investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board in which texting has been implicated.

A hearing on the case will be held today.

NTSB documents show the pilot exchanged 20 text messages with an acquaintance over a span of less than two hours before the crash, including during flight.

The case underscores concerns the board has already expressed that use of mobile phones and other distracting electronic devices has increasingly become a factor in accidents across all modes of transportation.

AP