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NTSB cites failure at every level in 2008 chopper crash killing 9 firefighters. Says helicopter firm altered documents. Criticizes FAA & U.S. Forest Service.

Read NTSB press release

Read Carson Helicopters statement

Excerpts from The Oregonian:

The 2008 crash of an overloaded Oregon-based helicopter, which killed nine firefighters, was the result of a cascade of failures by virtually everyone involved in assuring a safe flight, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday as it presented findings into the accident.

NTSB member Robert Sumwalt pointed to false weight documents by the helicopter’s owner, Carson Helicopters of Grant Pass, and a lack of government oversight to catch the mistake. 

The problem was compounded by pilots who failed to account for the helicopter operating at the limit of its performance, NTSB Chairwoman Deborah A.P. Hersman said at the start of a day-long hearing that exposed serious shortcomings — even negligence — in meeting standards set to ensure safe operation.

The U.S. Forest Service, which hired Carson to help fight a wild fire in California, and the Federal Aviation Administration also failed to adequately review and monitor Carson and ensure safe operation,

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