Geese cited as possible cause of 2018 helicopter crash in Orchard Lake

The Detroit News

A 2018 helicopter crash in Orchard Lake that injured the pilot could have been caused by a flock of geese but the agency investigating the incident still has not made an official determination, according to a federal government document.

Police and firefighters respond to a helicopter crash Sept. 3, 2018, in Orchard Lake.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a May "aviation accident factual report" that when the unidentified pilot "was maneuvering the helicopter to the right of the dolly at a hover, a flock of Canada geese came flying into the front and right of the helicopter" Sept. 3, 2018.

The pilot told officials he recalled "quickly moving" the helicopter back to the right to avoid the birds, and that it was the last action he could remember.

Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the NTSB, said he was unsure when the final cause of the accident will be released but it can take up to two years to ascertain "probable cause" of a crash.

"Until we have determined a cause, it's premature to analyze" the information available, he said.

Police and fire officials found the helicopter on its side near the 5000 block of Pontiac Trail. Crews put out a small fire and pushed over the helicopter so they could remove the pilot, who was conscious.

Emergency services personnel took the pilot from the wreckage after the person sustained serious injuries to his head and body. The pilot was not wearing a flight helmet during the accident flight, nor was he required to do so, according to the report.