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NTSB: Geese led to 2018 Orchard Lake helicopter crash

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

Two years after a pilot injured himself in a helicopter crash in Orchard Lake, the National Transportation Safety Board has released the official cause of the crash. 

The board determined the cause of the 2018 crash was the pilot's "failure to maintain helicopter control and terrain clearance while in a hover after performing an evasive maneuver to avoid wildlife."

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

The pilot reported "quickly moving" the helicopter to avoid a flock of Canada Geese that "came flying in to the front and right" of the helicopter on September 3, 2018.

That was the last action the pilot could recall until after the MD Helicopter 369E hit the ground. 

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 flight, nor was he required to do so, according to the report.

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures prior to the crash. The board confirmed that the pilot's private heliport was near a lake where Canada geese are known to congregate.