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Man killed in helicopter crash at Red Rock was commercial pilot

Updated October 24, 2019 - 3:25 pm

The pilot killed in a helicopter crash on Wednesday in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area was an experienced aviator who had rented helicopters in the Las Vegas area for at least three years.

The Clark County coroner’s office identified him as Scott Socquet, 53, of Milford, Connecticut. He was transported to University Medical Center after the Wednesday afternoon accident and died of his injuries there, the coroner’s office said Thursday morning. His death was ruled an accident.

Authorities said another person was critically injured in the crash. That person remained at the medical center.

The helicopter crashed at approximately 3:20 p.m. Wednesday about 20 feet from state Route 159, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol. The Highway Patrol announced Thursday afternoon that state Route 159 had reopened in the area of the crash but cautioned that it would be subject to intermittent closures on Friday as the wreckage of the aircraft is removed.

The helicopter is 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 on Thursday that Socquet was an commercial airline pilot who also was licensed to fly helicopters.

“He lives in Connecticut and rents helicopters back there as well as here — he flies them here and there,” Binner said.

Binner said the Robinson R44 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 Wednesday’s crash and that it was his understanding that the pilot and passenger rented the aircraft for a leisure flight.

The cause of the crash remained under investigation Thursday. An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board was headed to the scene with the immediate goal of documenting all potentially perishable evidence at the crash site.

“They’ll be looking to collect as much evidence as they can, document the wreckage scene, document the wreckage. Interview the witnesses if there are any,” said Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the NTSB.

Weiss said a preliminary report on the crash is expected in about two weeks.

Contact Glenn Puit at gpuit@review-journal.com or 702-383-0390. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Katelyn Newberg contributed to this report.

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