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NTSB releases preliminary report from fatal Hazelhurst medical helicopter crash

HAZELHURST, Wis. (WSAW) -- The NTSB has released its preliminary report as to what caused a medical helicopter crash April 27 killing three men, however the cause still remains unclear.

Thirty-four-year-old pilot, Rico Caruso, of Hazelhurst; 43-year-old Gregory Rosenthal, of Mosinee; and 30-year-old Klint Mitchell, of Watersmeet, Michigan all died as result of the crash.

Investigators say the helicopter's GPS signal vanished just before 11 p.m. April 26. The wreckage was found in the middle of a wooded area around 2:15 a.m. in Hazelhurst – 12 miles south of the hospital where the emergency responders were based.

According to initial information, the helicopter was inspected one day before the crash. The helicopter was not equipped with a vehicle engine multifunction display or a digital electronic control unit. However, it was equipped with an enhanced ground proximity warning system.

Investigators said the wreckage did not exhibit any signs of fire.

The pilot had passed all recent training and held the appropriate licenses.

According to the report, the engine was found on the ground and was separated from the fuselage. The engine's compressor blades exhibited nick and gouge damage consistent with foreign object ingestion. The power turbine blades exhibited silver colored deposits on them. The report states the engine was working at the time of the crash.

Investigators said weather conditions were clear that night

A full report could take up to two years to complete.

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