Six people died on Wednesday when a tourist helicopter used in Hollywood movies crashed in West Virginia during a vintage helicopter show where guests without pilot licenses were allowed to fly the aircraft.
The Vietnam-era helicopter, which had previously appeared in movies including Baywatch, Die Hard and Outbreak, was being flown during the 7th Annual Huey Reunion, an event for historical aviation enthusiasts.
Guests at the event, hosted at the Marpat Aviation school in Logan county, could pay to fly the helicopter for $250 for a 30-minute session even without having a license, according to the event page.
The helicopter, advertised as probably the oldest Bell UH-1B helicopter in existence, crashed near Route 17 in the state’s south-west region, according to the Associated Press. All six people onboard were killed.
Ray Bryant, the chief of operations for the Logan Emergency Ambulance Service Authority, told the New York Times he has seen “no crashes of this magnitude” during his 35 years of service.
“The cockpit of the aircraft is burned up,” Bryant told WOWK-TV, a television station in Huntington, Virginia. “The tail boom is lying across the road. It is recognizable, we knew it was a local helicopter.”
Other described seeing smoke and fire at the witnesses site.
Bobbi Childs, who lives nearby, told WOWK-TV she saw a man trapped in the aircraft but that she was unable to rescue him because of the fire.
“I saw that there was a guy trapped, I guess the captain. I tried to get down to the door where he was at. You could see him plain as day. I tried to get to him, but the fire was too hot,” said Childs.