Report: TV Chopper Crash May Have Been Due to Loose Nut

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

CONROE, Texas -- A preliminary report on a TV news helicopter crash that killed a pilot and a photographer says there was a loosened nut in the engine.

The cause of the Oct. 13 accident north of Houston remains under investigation.

The report by the National Transportation Safety Board does not say whether investigators suspect the loose nut played a role in the crash.

The Houston Chronicle reports the NTSB's final report could take up to one year.

Pilot John Downhower and photographer David Garrett died in the crash while covering a shooting in Montgomery County for KTRK-TV.

A witness reported seeing the low-flying helicopter bank steeply to the right before going down.

Investigators also say one tail rotor blade was straight and the other was bent 90 degrees.

The 1993 Bell 206L4 was owned by St. Louis-based Helicopters Inc., which leases choppers to news organizations.

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