NTSB: Gusting winds may have led to fatal helicopter crash in White County

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Aftermath of crash on March 14, 2017

WHITE COUNTY, Ind. – Gusting winds likely contributed to a deadly helicopter crash last week in White County.

That’s according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board that cited three witnesses who “independently reported” gusting winds around the time the helicopter went down.

Howard Easterbrook, 53, Kapolei, Hawaii, died after the McDonnell Douglass 369FF crashed on the afternoon of March 14, 2017.

Easterbrook was a subcontractor working to thread a power line through the center of a tower structure when the crash occurred. A witness provided investigators with a three-minute cell phone video showing the circumstances leading up to the crash.

In addition to the witness accounts of wind gusts, a weather observation station at the White County Airport recorded winds between 13 and 21 mph. The airport is about five miles northeast of the crash site.

The crash report is preliminary and considered a first step in what could be a lengthy probe into the crash, which remains under investigation by the NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration.