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Feds release photo of wreckage from deadly BRPD helicopter crash, say emergency transmitter was damaged

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This story includes a picture of the wreckage released by investigators

PORT ALLEN - A new report from federal investigators is painting a better picture of the helicopter crash that killed two BRPD officers last month as they try to determine what caused the aircraft to go down.

The report from the NTSB recaps the timeline of the crash, which happened while Sgt. David Poirrier and Cpl. Scotty Canezaro were providing aerial support for a BRPD chase that spilled into West Baton Rouge around 2 a.m. March 26.

Flight data suggested the helicopter crashed roughly 10 minutes after taking off from BTR Airport, but the wreckage wasn't discovered until hours later after one of the officers' family members reported he never came home.

Weeks later, it's still unclear what caused the accident, with the FAA revising an initial crash report to say that the aircraft went down under "unknown circumstances" after initially suggesting the tail rotor hit a tree. Until Wednesday, the only other clues as to what happened came from flight data showing that the helicopter rapidly fluctuated in speed just before impact. 

The NTSB report released Wednesday notes that the helicopter was found upside down at the edge of a sugar cane field, just past a tree line, and included the first publicly released image of the wreckage itself. Investigators added that the main rotor transmission, mast, and main rotor blades came to rest in a wooded area about 250 feet east of the main wreckage."

The report goes on to say several other components of the helicopter were found strewn about between the main rotor assembly and the crash scene, including an emergency location transmitter. Investigators said the device was damaged in the crash, noting it was "separated from the mounting structure, and the antenna wire was severed about 4 inches from the transmitter."

Experts tell WBRZ the device is designed to send out an emergency signal in the event of a crash and that the damage to the transmitter may have made it even more difficult to locate the crash scene.

The wreckage is currently in possession of the feds, who are still inspecting it as part of the investigation. 

Read the full report here.

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