FAA, NTSB investigating fatal helicopter crash in northwest Iowa

Published: Apr. 10, 2020 at 3:01 PM CDT
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The FAA and NTSB are investigating a fatal helicopter crash in northwest Iowa.

On Tuesday, March 31st at around 4:30 pm, Audubon County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the area of 250th and Robin.

The helicopter has been identified as a 2004 R44 Raven II, 4 passenger helicopter, registered to MN Helicopters, Inc of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and leased by Ride the Sky Helicopters, Inc. also of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The pilot, 30-year-old Ryan Doolittle of Minneapolis, Minnesota, originally from California, and passenger, 23-year-old Benjamin Peterson of Marshall, Minnesota, originally from Des Moines, were killed in the crash.

Peterson was employed by Western EcoSystem Tech and they were performing an aerial wildlife survey of raptor nests in the area when the accident occurred.

Dakota News Now has confirmed that Doolittle was the helicopter pilot for the photography crew capturing the Light Up Sioux Falls event on March 30th. The event honored those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The investigation is ongoing with the FAA and NTSB.

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the FAA, Iowa State Patrol Technical Investigation, Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office, Guthrie County EMA, Audubon County EMA, Audubon Fire & Rescue, Exira Fire Department, and Audubon County Secondary Roads.

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