SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Two men killed in a helicopter crash near Salt Lake City were on a routine maintenance test flight, a colleague said Wednesday.
The men, identified as Claus Hauer and Bruce Orr, worked for an aircraft repair business and were taking a client's helicopter for a test flight when it crashed into a roof Tuesday, said Rick Swisher, owner of Quicksilver Air Inc.
"Obviously, it was a catastrophic failure of some sort," said Swisher, who employed Hauer as director of maintenance for his company that specializes in helicopter support for wildlife capture.
The Robinson R-44 had just taken off from the Sky Park Airport in Bountiful when it crashed into a building in an industrial area of North Salt Lake about 2 p.m. Tuesday, authorities said.
Federal investigators are looking into what caused the crash in an investigation.
The men were in their late 50s or early 60s and lived in northern Utah's Wasatch Front area, said North Salt Lake Police Chief Craig Black. He didn't know their exact ages or hometowns.
Hauer worked as a pilot for the Salt Lake City news station KUTV from about 2002 to 2005, photographer Mike Sadowski said.
"He was an army-trained pilot, straightforward. He was so well-versed," Sadowski said. "He knew the aircraft inside and out."
The pair covered traffic accidents, wildfires and air shows together, though he said Hauer scaled back on his flying time after he had a few hard landings in 2004 and 2005.
Swisher said both Hauer and Orr shared a strong religious faith and a zest for life.
"I've never met two more honest men in my life," he said.
The two-story building was empty when the crash happened, but it left a large hole in the roof, Black said.