A preliminary report released Tuesday about a deadly Maplewood helicopter crash last week gave a few more details about what happened but stopped short of pinpointing a cause.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is investigating the June 19 incident, released a preliminary report about the crash, which happened in the 2700 block of 7th Street near the Maplewood Nature Center. It will take six months to a year before a final report will be released.
According to the report, the Bell 47 left Flying Cloud Airport about 7:30 a.m. and flew to a staging area near Maplewood to be loaded with 640 pounds of a mosquito control chemical.
After leaving the staging area, a witness saw the helicopter applying the chemical just south of the staging area and then depart that location. Witnesses saw the helicopter travel south to north near the nature center when the helicopter started to lose altitude, turn or roll to the left and descend. Witnesses lost sight of the helicopter behind some houses.
The helicopter crashed into a detached garage, causing a fire. Pilot Michael Kramer, 44, of St. Charles, Minn., was killed. Nobody else was injured.
The helicopter didn’t have a flight plan; however, “not all flights require a flight plan,” said Terry Williams, a spokesman for the NTSB. Scott Churchill, owner of Scott’s Helicopter Services, the helicopter’s operator, said that a flight plan isn’t required on that type of flight.
Churchill said he believes there weren’t any mechanical problems with the aircraft.
On Tuesday, six of his helicopters were back treating the area for the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District. It was the first time they were working for the district since the crash.
Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495