NTSB: Taking selfies likely caused fatal Colorado plane crash
(CNN – Feb. 3, 2015) — Distraction caused by taking selfies is likely to blame for a plane crash that killed a pilot and his passenger in Colorado in May, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Investigators found an undamaged GoPro video camera near the wreckage and recovered its data card. Video from the card showed the 29-year-old pilot with several passengers on flights the previous day, and one nighttime flight shortly before the fatal trip, taking photos of himself with his cell phone, according to investigators.
“The camera’s flash was activated and illuminated the cockpit area,” the report said.
The fatal flight, on May 31, was not captured on the GoPro footage but investigators said that the pilot, who is not identified in the report, was at the controls of the plane when it stalled and crashed in a wheat field, bounced once and came to rest upright.
It’s likely that the use of cell phones during that flight “distracted the pilot,” the report said, causing him to develop spatial disorientation and lose control of the plane. The aircraft went into a stall and then spun before crashing, investigators said.
Investigators found nothing wrong with the aircraft itself that might have contributed to the crash, the NTSB said.
The 29-year-old pilot had a total of 726 total fight hours and 27 hours of experience flying at night. His logbooks did not show that he had training in instruments to deal with a stall or that he was qualified to fly at night with passengers, the NTSB said.
Family members said that Amritpal Singh was flying the plane, the Denver Post reported. It was registered to him.
Singh’s relatives told the newspaper that the passenger was a musician in town for a concert.