Evidence of Bird Strike Found in Chopper Crash

Hurst pilot killed in January crash

Investigators have found evidence that a bird may have struck a helicopter before it crashed into a Louisiana swamp last month, killing eight people, including a North Texas pilot.

A report issued Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board doesn't conclude that a bird strike caused the deadly crash near Morgan City on Jan. 4.

But tests on the wreckage of the Sikorsky S-76C found microscopic remains of a hawk-like bird on the pilot's side of the chopper's windscreen. Investigators also found parts of feathers under a windscreen seal and in an engine.

The NTSB says its probe continues.

Vyarl Martin, 46, of Hurst, died in the crash.

He and another pilot were flying seven workers to a Shell Oil Co. platform in the Gulf of Mexico when the helicopter went down in a marsh about 100 miles southwest of New Orleans. The crash left a lone survivor critically injured.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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