NOXEN, Pa. (AP) - The names of five people killed in the crash of a helicopter in rugged woods in northeastern Pennsylvania have been released.
The Wyoming County coroner's office says the victims were 58-year-old Bernard Michael Kelly, of Ellicott City, Md.; his 27-year-old daughter, Leanna Mee Kelly, of Savage, Md.; 29-year-old Carl Robert Woodland, of Lovettsville, Va.; his 3-year-old son, Noah Robert McKain Woodland, of Leesburg, Va.; and 30-year-old David Ernest Jenny Jr., of Towson, Md.
All died of multiple traumatic injuries when the helicopter crashed Saturday night near Noxen, a small picturesque town.
A spokeswoman for the company that owns the R66 Rotorcraft helicopter says early indications are it was caught in a thunderstorm.
Officials say the flight originated at Tri Cities Airport in Endicott, N.Y., and refueled there Saturday afternoon.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP's earlier story is below.
Moments after a pilot told air traffic controllers he was losing altitude, his helicopter crashed in rugged woods in northeastern Pennsylvania, killing five people, including a child, authorities said.
The pilot contacted a nearby tower at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday saying he would attempt to return to another airfield nearby, Wyoming County coroner Thomas Kukuchka said Sunday.
"That's when he went off radar," he said.
Early indications are the helicopter was caught in a thunderstorm, said Loretta Conley, a spokeswoman for the company that owns the aircraft. Kukuchka said there were severe thunderstorms in the area Saturday night.
He said three men, a woman and a child were on board.
"It appears to be a father and son, a father and daughter and the pilot," he said. Their names and ages have not been released.
Kukuchka said his office was trying to reach family members of the victims in Leesburg, Va., Ellicot City, Md., and Kintnersville, Pa., but he had not released their names by Monday afternoon.
The flight originated at Tri Cities Airport in Endicott, N.Y., the Federal Aviation Administration said Monday, correcting its own earlier information that it took off from nearby Greater Binghamton Airport.
Records show the helicopter, an R66 Rotorcraft, refueled at Tri Cities at 4:10 p.m. Saturday, said airport manager Gerard Corprew.
Corprew said the helicopter must have come back to the airport at least once more, however, because a father and young son later killed in the crash were still waiting to be picked up when he left at 7 p.m.
The helicopter that crashed is sometimes used for tours, Corprew said, and can seat four in addition to a pilot. It can also be used for training new pilots.
A tail number Corprew provided showed the aircraft is owned by Robinson Helicopter Co. of Torrance, Calif., according to an FAA records check.
Conley said the company "is saddened by the loss of lives." She said the helicopter had been sold to a Robinson Helicopter dealer in Hampton Roads, Va.
The company sent investigators to assist the federal probe, which is being led by the National Transportation Safety Board.
An NTSB official in charge of the scene did not immediately return a call for comment Monday.
The coroner and police said rough weather contributed to the difficulty of the search; the wreckage was located shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday.
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