LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- The Clark County Coroner's Office has been in contact with family members of the pilot and passengers who were victims of the crash and can confirm that officials are working with family members in Las Vegas, Utica, Kansas and New Delhi, India, to obtain medical records of victims to assist in the identification process.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office will not release the names of the decedents until their identities can be confirmed. We expect to be able to release the names early next week.
Sundance Helicopters suspended operations on Dec. 8. The company has resumed flights today, Dec. 9, and is providing full refunds to customers if requested.
Sundance employees are fully cooperating with local, state and national authorities and will provide more information as soon as it becomes available in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board .
Sundance Helicopters released a statement has reached out to the relatives for both the passengers and pilots to offer their condolences.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the family of pilot Landon Nield and the families of the four passengers,” Larry Pietropaulo, Sundance Helicopters chief executive officer, says in the statement. “It greatly saddens us to learn of this loss as the safety and security of our crew and passengers is of paramount concern. We will fully cooperate with the FAA and NTSB while they conduct their investigation.”
Investigators say they have identified up two witnesses who saw the tour helicopter crash that killed all five on board Wednesday night.
The NTSB says they won't release the witnesses’ names, but their eyewitness accounts could play a huge role in understanding how that chopper went down.
The wreckage of the helicopter leaves little to be recognized. The crash site is in treacherous terrain, about 4 miles west of Lake Mead.
Yesterday morning, the investigative team of 12 made their way to the site by helicopter. To even get to the site, investigators said they had to use utility task vehicles, and then climb the rest of the way to the wreckage.
Authorities say they determined most of the chopper was consumed by fire at impact, and it looks like the blades were intact. Investigators also say they've found parts of the engine.
The NTSB team is also trying to determine if whether they will get any help in finding what happened in the moments before impact from on-board recording devices.
“The question is whether any flight data recorders or black box,” said NTSB Board Member Mark Rosekind “That's one of the things were looking at so meeting with the operators, we'll be trying to understand exactly what's on the aircraft.”
Rosekind said that black boxes are not standard devices on tour helicopters, but the NTSB had previously recommended their addition to the aircraft, so it is possible that the tour company added them.
The helicopter pilot has been confirmed by family members as 31 year-old Landon Nield, originally from Utah. He was just married to his wife in June, and leaves behind two stepchildren.
FAA records show he was a certified chopper pilot for four years, and even taught others how to fly the very helicopter he went down in.
A statement from the pilot's family says in part that Landon "is the father of two wonderful children. He was a loving and caring man.”
The family's thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost loved ones in this accident
The NTSB's full report will take up to nine months to finish, but they said within two weeks we will have a preliminary report.
Investigators say they will spend 3 to 5 days at the crash site to gather evidence. The NTSB says we could have new details as soon as later today.