GRAND LAKE, LA (KPLC) -Three people are dead following a helicopter crash near the Calcasieu-Cameron Parish line late Friday morning. It happened in an unpopulated area approximately 5 miles southeast of the Lake Charles Regional Airport at about 11:45 a.m. on Friday.
Cameron Parish authorities identified the victims late Friday afternoon.
According to Sheriff Ron Johnson with the Cameron Parish Sheriff's Office, the deceased are as follows:
William R. Croucher, 69, of California. He was the pilot of the aircraft.
Michael Lee Tyree, 55, of Iowa, La. He was a mechanic with Era Helicopters.
Timothy Llyod Goehring, 41, of Sulphur, La. He was a mechanic with Era Helicopters.
"We deeply regret this unfortunate accident and we will use all of our resources to support the families of those involved. Our review will continue in concert with the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, which has jurisdiction over this matter," said Era Helicopters CEO, Sten Gustafson.
As of 6pm on Friday, investigators wrapped up their time at the site for the night. They plan to return and continue the investigation on Saturday and throughout the weekend.
The Federal Aviation Administration has taken over the investigation, which will be led by the National Transportation Safety Board. No one else will be allowed back to the crash site, located near Tom Hebert and Helms Rd. north of Grand Lake, until the investigation is complete. The investigation is projected to be completed by Monday afternoon.
Lynn Lunsford, Mid-States Public Affairs Manager at the FAA, has identified the aircraft as a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter, tail number N574EH, that was based at the Lake Charles Regional Airport. Timothy O'Leary with Era helicopters said the helicopter had been on a maintenance test flight for approximately 30 minutes when it crashed.
According to Flightaware.com's database, the helicopter was a 1990 Sikorsky S-76 A Rotorcraft with 14 seats and 2 engines.