Boarding a helicopter in New York or another part of the United States poses inevitable risks, but pilots who abuse substances before getting behind helicopter controls considerably amplify these risks. A recent Albuquerque, New Mexico, helicopter crash offered possible evidence of this, as an autopsy report that followed the fatal crash revealed the pilot had fentanyl in his system at the time the incident occurred.
Per CBS News, the pilot in the crash that killed five (including the pilot) had a powerful opioid pain killer in his system when his aircraft went down, though it is unclear exactly why he was using the prescription medication. While it is also unclear, to date, exactly how much fentanyl the pilot had in his system, he was a highly experienced pilot, suggesting inexperience may not have been a factor. Additionally, skies were clear the night of the flight, suggesting that the cause of the incident was probably not weather-related.
While there were five passengers on the helicopter in addition to the pilot, three passengers lost their lives after suffering blunt-force trauma, and one of the three also suffered burn injuries. The exact cause of the other two fatalities is unclear, although the pilot was able to call for help before he later died at a nearby hospital.
According to Vertical magazine, the lone survivor on board stated she recalled a "big bang" the moment the aircraft hit the ground, and a preliminary accident report showed that she was hanging upside down and still strapped in to her seatbelt when help arrived. She also had jet fuel pouring over her when emergency responders made their way to the scene.