BOISE – A 2010 helicopter crash in a small Idaho town that killed two state wildlife biologists and the pilot was caused when an aluminum clipboard belonging to one of the biologists somehow fell out of the aircraft and hit the tail rotor, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
A report released Thursday said it’s unclear if the clipboard came from an external luggage rack or from inside the cabin.
The Hiller UH-12E helicopter had a three-abreast bench seat that had the pilot in the center. Its cabin was fully enclosed, but officials said occupants sometimes open the doors during flight.
“It’s not common but pretty unusual,” said lead investigator Michael Huhn.
Killed were 47-year-old Larry Barrett and 34-year-old Danielle Schiff, Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists who were to count salmon spawning nests in the Selway River. The pilot was 43-year-old Perry J. Krinitt of Belgrade, Mont.