NTSB: Selfie Photos May Have Led to Fatal Plane Crash

Denver, CO

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that a fatal plane crash near Denver last year was most likely caused by a pilot who was distracted by taking selfie photos in the cockpit.

NTSB officials say they found a GoPro camera in the wreckage of a May 31, 2014 flight on which they discovered a series of videos made by pilot Amritpal Singh, 29, during various flights.

Singh crashed his two-seat Cessna 150 just four minutes after take off. Officials said that the plane never gained enough speed to achieve the proper lift before spinning out of control.

“Based on the evidence of cell phone use during low-altitude maneuvering, including the flight immediately before the accident flight, it is likely that cell phone use during the accident flight distracted the pilot and contributed to the development of spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control,” the investigators said.

“During the climb-out portion of flight, the pilot uses his cellphone to take a self photograph. The camera’s flash was activated and illuminated the cockpit area,” the investigators continued. “During the climb-out phase, the pilot was seen making keyboard entries to his cell phone and additional keyboard entries on a portion of flight consistent with the downwind leg.”

The FAA recently added clarifications to regulations prohibiting pilots from using wireless devices or computers “while at their duty station on the flight deck while the aircraft is being operated.”

Pilots are allowed to use cameras during flight, the FAA reports, but not cell phone cameras.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.