2 utility workers killed in helicopter crash in rural NY

Dramatic amateur video shows the flaming wreckage of a helicopter which crashed into electrical lines in upstate New York, killing two people and leaving two others injured.

The video was filmed by a passerby in Beekmantown, not far from the Canadian border, at around 4:15pm on Tuesday.

It shows what remains of a French-made Aerospatiale AS355F2 helicopter which was carrying four people when it struck power lines during repair work, according to local authorities.

Dramatic amateur video shows the flaming wreckage of a helicopter which crashed into electrical lines in upstate New York, killing two people and leaving two others injured

Dramatic amateur video shows the flaming wreckage of a helicopter which crashed into electrical lines in upstate New York, killing two people and leaving two others injured

Dramatic amateur video shows the flaming wreckage of a helicopter which crashed into electrical lines in upstate New York, killing two people and leaving two others injured

Dramatic amateur video shows the flaming wreckage of a helicopter which crashed into electrical lines in upstate New York, killing two people and leaving two others injured

Dramatic amateur video shows the flaming wreckage of a helicopter which crashed into electrical lines in upstate New York, killing two people and leaving two others injured

The video was filmed by a passerby in Beekmantown, not far from the Canadian border, at around 4:15pm on Tuesday

The video was filmed by a passerby in Beekmantown, not far from the Canadian border, at around 4:15pm on Tuesday

The video was filmed by a passerby in Beekmantown, not far from the Canadian border, at around 4:15pm on Tuesday

It shows what remains of a French-made Aerospatiale AS355F2 helicopter which was carrying four people when it struck power lines during repair work, according to local authorities

In the video, the burning metal begins to disintegrate and fall piece by piece from the electrical lines

In the video, the burning metal begins to disintegrate and fall piece by piece from the electrical lines

In the video, the burning metal begins to disintegrate and fall piece by piece from the electrical lines

The helicopter was owned by Catalyst Aviation, LLC - a New Jersey-based company that specializes in power line inspection, according to investigators

The helicopter was owned by Catalyst Aviation, LLC - a New Jersey-based company that specializes in power line inspection, according to investigators

The helicopter was owned by Catalyst Aviation, LLC – a New Jersey-based company that specializes in power line inspection, according to investigators

The above image is a stock photo showing an Aerospatiale AS355F2 helicopter similar to the one that crashed in upstate New York on Tuesday

The above image is a stock photo showing an Aerospatiale AS355F2 helicopter similar to the one that crashed in upstate New York on Tuesday

The above image is a stock photo showing an Aerospatiale AS355F2 helicopter similar to the one that crashed in upstate New York on Tuesday

In the video, the burning metal begins to disintegrate and fall piece by piece from the electrical lines.

Some power lines in the area caught fire as a result of the crash, though these flames were quickly extinguished by the emergency services.

Nobody on the ground was injured, according to WPTZ-TV.

The pilot of the helicopter, Robert T. Hoban Jr, 56, and a passenger, Jeremy P. Kearns, 30, died in the crash, New York State Police announced.

Two other passengers – Benjamin L. McAllister, 30, and Scott E. Fabia, 34 – were taken to a local hospital and treated for injuries. They were released later the same evening.

The coroner is expected to perform autopsies on the deceased by Thursday.

Jeremy P. Kearns, 30, was identified as one of the fatalities in the crash

Jeremy P. Kearns, 30, was identified as one of the fatalities in the crash

Jeremy P. Kearns, 30, was identified as one of the fatalities in the crash

Kearns was from Massena, New York, a town located in St. Lawrence County, just a few miles from the border with Canada

Kearns was from Massena, New York, a town located in St. Lawrence County, just a few miles from the border with Canada

Kearns was from Massena, New York, a town located in St. Lawrence County, just a few miles from the border with Canada

Kearns was part of a team that was hired to inspect power lines in Beekmantown, New York

Kearns was part of a team that was hired to inspect power lines in Beekmantown, New York

Kearns was part of a team that was hired to inspect power lines in Beekmantown, New York

State, local, and federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, said they would investigate the crash

State, local, and federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, said they would investigate the crash

State, local, and federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, said they would investigate the crash

Two other passengers - Benjamin L. McAllister (above), 30, and Scott E. Fabia, 34 - were taken to a local hospital and treated for injuries. They were released later the same evening

Two other passengers - Benjamin L. McAllister (above), 30, and Scott E. Fabia, 34 - were taken to a local hospital and treated for injuries. They were released later the same evening

Two other passengers – Benjamin L. McAllister (above), 30, and Scott E. Fabia, 34 – were taken to a local hospital and treated for injuries. They were released later the same evening

‘Clinton County sheriff’s deputies were actually first on scene,’ Clinton County Emergency Services Director Eric Day said.

‘A couple of the deputies started immediately performing lifesaving measures on two of the individuals.

‘They dragged them away from the fire, away from the crash scene and actually initiated CPR on one of the individuals.’

The helicopter was owned by Catalyst Aviation, LLC – a New Jersey-based company that specializes in power line inspection, according to investigators.

Hoban, a father of two daughter, was an employee of Catalyst Aviation. He was once married to the company’s owner and founder, according to the New York Post.

‘I had the privilege to once be married to one of the men that lost their life today,’ Maria Palmer told the Post. 

‘He was the father of our children and one of my dearest friends.

‘Finally, and tragically, Robert was not the only loss of life. 

Maria Palmer, the owner and founder of Catalyst Aviation, was once married to the pilot who died, Robert Hoban

Maria Palmer, the owner and founder of Catalyst Aviation, was once married to the pilot who died, Robert Hoban

Maria Palmer, the owner and founder of Catalyst Aviation, was once married to the pilot who died, Robert Hoban

‘I never met this man and I know his family is as ours, suffering and hoping to wake up tomorrow knowing it was a nightmare and hug their beloved Jeremy. 

‘My heart is breaking for each of you.’ 

Catalyst was contracted by Northline Utilities LLC, a company based in Au Sable Forks, New York that supplies construction and other services to the electric utilities industry, according to state investigators.

The crash resulted in 2,900 customers of Vermont Electric Co-op losing power for a couple hours.

State, local, and federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, said they would investigate the crash.

The New York Power Authority has been working with the Electric Power Research Institute to investigate automated inspection technology using drones, with the goal of making transmission system maintenance safer, more efficient and less expensive.

Transmission line inspection and maintenance is traditionally carried out by workers who climb tall line towers or use a helicopter with a four-person crew. 

Both methods are very risky.

In January, two contractors died when their helicopter crashed while they were doing transmission line inspection work in northwest Ohio. 

A helicopter crashed near Caledonia, Michigan in May 2015 during high-voltage line inspections but the two crewmen escaped injury. 

In 2014, three men died in a helicopter crash while doing routine power line inspections in Silt, Colorado.

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