Surviving pilot thrown from Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo: U.S. officials

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 12, 2014 12:21 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Peter Siebold, the surviving pilot of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, was thrown from the rocket-powered vehicle when it broke apart and unbuckled from his seat before his parachute deployed automatically, U.S. officials said in a statement on Wednesday.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the Oct. 31 crash in Southern California, also found Siebold was unaware that his co-pilot had unlocked the craft's moveable tail section, which appears to have set off a chain of events that led to ship's destruction.

Mike Alsbury, the co-pilot, was killed in the crash.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Susan Heavey)