OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — Answers are emerging about what caused a helicopter to crash off of Oak Island last summer.
According to a recently-released report from the National Transportation Safety Board, a series of highly-skilled maneuvers sent the two-seat chopper plummeting toward the water.
On June 14, 2012, Mari Kajimoto and William Mistrot decided to fly a Robinson R-22 from Wilmington to Myrtle Beach. According to the report, after a preflight inspection, Kajimoto and Mistrot took off without filing a flight plan with air traffic controllers.
The report says Kajimoto, who was piloting the chopper, decided she wanted to perform an autorotation maneuver, which practices landing without power. Her co-pilot warned against it, because neither one of them had the experience. At about 600 feet and traveling about 75 knots, Kajimoto decided to do it anyway, the report says.
Immediately warning sirens sounded that the helicopter was losing power. Kajimoto tried to power out of trouble, but the 1,400-pound chopper rolled over and fell into the water near the Yaupon Pier.
A nearby boat immediately came to the rescue. Neither Kajimoto nor Mistrot were seriously hurt.
Kajimoto admitted to NTSB investigators that there was nothing wrong with the helicopter, and that the accident was her fault.