Pilot taking 'selfies' before fatal Colorado crash: report

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 03, 2015 12:31 PM

(Reuters) - The pilot of a small plane was taking selfie pictures with a cellphone on a series of short flights around a Colorado airport in 2014 before he crashed on one of the jaunts, killing himself and a passenger, federal investigators found.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the 29-year-old pilot of the Cessna 150K plane lost control in the crash near Watkins, Colorado.

"Contributing to the accident was the pilot's distraction due to his cellphone use while maneuvering at low altitude," the NTSB said in a report issued last week.

The Adams County coroner's office has identified the pilot as Amritpal Singh and the passenger as 31-year-old Jatinder Singh. It was unclear whether the two were related.

A GoPro camera was mounted on the windshield of the plane facing into the cockpit, so it captured the actions of the pilot and his passengers on a series of short flights around the Front Range Airport, which is less than 30 miles east of Denver, the NTSB report said.

The GoPro camera did not capture the flight that resulted in the crash, but in recordings of previous flights that day the pilot and a number of his passengers were seen taking selfie pictures on their cellphones and the pilot was observed texting on his phone, the NTSB report said.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Scott Malone and Doina Chiacu)