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October 28, 2009 - NTSB: Pilot to Blame for Medevac Crash

Pilot error was to blame for the crash of a Maryland State Police medevac helicopter that killed four people, federal investigators say.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Steven Bunker of Waldorf, Md., who died in the crash in 2008, descended too fast because he was trying to get to a point where he had some visibility in a fog, The Baltimore Sun reported. The board said its investigators found no problems with the helicopter's navigational or other equipment.

The helicopter was ferrying two victims of a car crash to a hospital when it crashed in Prince George's County. The other victims were a medical technician, Tonya Mallard, and Ashley Younger, one of the patients.

The other patient survived.

Bunker was trying to make an emergency landing at Andrews Air Force Base. The NTSB said he did not evaluate conditions properly before takeoff. The board also cited poor risk management by state police and slipshod work by air traffic controllers.

After the crash, Maryland changed its rules on medevac flights in an effort to limit them to emergencies where speed could be a lifesaver.

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