NTSB: Pilot Decisions Caused Alaska Copter Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board says a fatal Alaska State Troopers helicopter crash was caused by the pilot’s decision to fly into bad weather and the agency’s inadequate safety management.

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The trooper pilot, a state trooper and an injured snowmobiler they had picked up died in last year’s crash near Talkeetna.

Among the conclusions the NTSB determined Wednesday is that contributing to the crash was the pilot’s motivation to complete the search-and-rescue mission, which increased the risk and affected his decisions.

The board also says the Alaska Department of Public Safety had a “punitive culture” because its internal investigation of a previous accident involving the pilot focused too narrowly on the pilot instead of addressing underlying safety deficiencies.

A department statement says it has since examined its aviation practices.