A helicopter that crashed in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, killing two people, was so badly damaged that state troopers could barely recognize it, according to law enforcement body camera footage.
The Nevada Highway Patrol videos document some of the public safety response to the Oct. 23 crash that killed pilot Scott Socquet, 53, of Milford, Connecticut, and Howard Jameson, 27, from New Fairfield, Connecticut. The Robinson R44 helicopter crashed at about 3:20 p.m. about 20 feet from state Route 159.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal obtained the trooper bodycam videos Tuesday from the Nevada Department of Public Safety via an open records request.
The videos show troopers arriving at the scene shortly after the victims were transferred to the hospital via ambulance.
“It’s bad. You can’t even tell it’s … a helicopter,” one trooper is heard saying.
Another trooper offers a nearly identical observation.
“I mean, it is smashed up,” a trooper says, adding, “You can’t even tell if it’s a helicopter or a car. That’s how messed up it is.”
One trooper talks to a pair of men standing on the side of the road near the crash site. One tells the trooper his son helped ambulance personnel at the scene and “there’s two people, they look to be badly injured.”
Socquet died the day of the crash. Jameson died five days later at University Medical Center.
The videos indicate witnesses told police the helicopter was flying low and clipped a fence as it crashed. In the video, the tail of the helicopter is on one side of the road and the mangled fuselage on the other.
“The witnesses were saying he was flying low on the west side of 159 heading northbound,” a Metropolitan Police Department officer says to a trooper on the video.
“It first took out that fence,” the officer tells the trooper. “You can see the top fence line. … You see it torn off. Hits there, does a skip all the way over here.”
“Dude, they came down hard, man,” a trooper can be heard saying in another video clip.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating to determine the cause of the accident.
The helicopter was registered to Binner Enterprises LLC, a Henderson aviation and flight school, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Binner Enterprises is owned by Matthew Binner, who told the Review-Journal previously that Socquet was a commercial airline pilot who also was licensed to fly helicopters.
Binner said the helicopter was leased to Airwork Las Vegas, which lists a North Las Vegas address. Airwork’s website said the business offers a variety of aviation-related services, including aircraft rental.
FAA records show that Socquet held a certificate as an airline transport pilot. His ratings were for “airline transport pilot, airline multi-engine land.” His commercial privileges were for “airplane single engine land and rotorcraft-helicopter.”
Binner said Socquet often rented the same type of helicopter involved in the crash and that it was his understanding that the pilot and passenger rented the aircraft for a leisure flight.
Contact Glenn Puit at email@example.com or 702-383-0390. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.