NTSB Says It Could Take 10 Days To Determine Cause Of Crash

CLEVELAND (AP) - Investigators trying to determine why a medical helicopter crashed, killing two people and seriously injuring a third, will review a maintenance log found in the wreckage and a recording of a brief exchange between the pilot and a control tower.

But it could take up to 10 days to find the cause of Friday's crash, which occurred as the helicopter took off for a routine run, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Nurse Kelly Conti, 38, of Wickliffe, died of blunt impact to her head and trunk, and chopper pilot Bill Spence, 51, of Marshallville, died of burns he received in the crash. Medic Joseph Paoletta, 29, of Brecksville, was in serious condition at MetroHealth Medical Center, recovering from a broken left arm and burns over 30 percent of his body.

Leah Yeager, an NTSB investigator, said the log is legible and will be examined along with Spence's conversation with an air traffic controller at Burke Lakefront Airport.

"The pilot did contact Burke Lakefront tower and Burke did make contact with the pilot, but there was no response" from the pilot, Yeager said.

She said she did not yet know the details of the exchange.

The helicopter crew was responding to a call to transfer a patient from LakeWest Hospital in Willoughby.

Paoletta's father, Carl,

sa
id that
his son is in a lot of pain
and has a long recovery ahead of him.
He
told The Plain Dealer
that
his son remembers the
crash and began to cry when he saw
television
coverage of it.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)