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FAA says BRPD crash happened 'under unknown circumstances,' changes initial report
ERWINVILLE - A new report released by the FAA Thursday removed mentions of a BRPD helicopter's tail rotor hitting a tree and instead said the crash happened "under unknown circumstances."
The helicopter's flight track, publicly available through FlightAware, shows that the aircraft jumped from 40mph to 102mph and back down to 30mph in the span of about 30 seconds. The aircraft also ascended to 1,300 feet just before the crash, which happened roughly 10 minutes after its takeoff from the BTR Airport.
Investigators initially said the aircraft's tail rotor struck a tree before it hit the ground by a cane field, but it's still unclear what caused it go down. The FAA received a different report Thursday saying the crash happened "under unknown circumstances" and removed mention of the tail rotor hitting the tree.
Drone video shared with WBRZ showed the spot where the aircraft went down was just feet from a tree line. The impact left behind a circular scar on the landscape, which can be seen in the aerial footage.
The wreckage was removed and restrictions on airspace in the immediate area were lifted late Tuesday.
The BRPD Robinson R44 went down near Erwinville while being called to pursue a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run on Sherwood Forest Boulevard. The vehicle was reportedly traveling at speeds up to 150 miles per hour.
Two pilots on board the helicopter died. A motorcade escorted the remains of Sgt. David Poirrier and Cpl. Scotty Canezaro from the West Baton Rouge coroner's office back to Baton Rouge police headquarters late Wednesday morning, and funeral arrangements were announced to take place in early April.
Updated information on the crash from federal investigators could come in the weeks ahead, but the complete report is not expected until 2024.
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