LOGAN, W.Va. -- A Vietnam-era helicopter that carried tourists over West Virginia crashed and burned, killing all six people on board, authorities said.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the Bell UH-1B helicopter crashed along Route 17 in Logan County about 5 p.m. Wednesday.
All six people on board were killed, said Ray Bryant, chief of operations for Logan County emergency ambulance service authority. The helicopter crashed in clear weather on a highway near the local airport, he said.
“The entire cab of it was on fire,” Bryant said in a phone interview Thursday.
“It was recognized by the first responders as being a helicopter from this area because we see it a lot,” he said.
The crash was near the Battle of Blair Mountain historic sites, where a deadly clash erupted a century ago as thousands of coal miners marched to unionize in West Virginia.
Bobbi Childs, who lives nearby, saw smoke and flames and got close enough to see a man who was trapped.
“I saw that there was a guy trapped, I guess the captain. I tried to get down to the door where he was at. You could see him plain as day. I tried to get to him, but the fire was too hot. I couldn’t get to him,” Childs told WOWK-TV.
The helicopter was based at the nearby Logan airport and used for tourism flights, Bryant told WSAZ-TV.
The road was expected to remain closed for at least 24 hours. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.