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Spillway Helicopter Crash Closes Highway, Fatalities Unknown

A helicopter crashed on I-10 just hours ago in St. John Parish, Louisiana. It crashed at the Bonnet Carré Spillway Bridge in the eastbound lanes, and I-10 Eastbound and I-55 Southbound are closed as of this writing. It’s currently unknown how many people were aboard the craft or if there were any survivors.

The FAA reports that the crashed aircraft was a Bell 407 helicopter, a common civil utility helicopter with one engine. According to a helicopter charter company, the Bell 407 is used for air medical transport, corporate and offshore transport, law enforcement, news, and filming. It seats two crew members and five passengers, which means up to seven people might have been aboard the crashed aircraft.

Here’s a video of the crash site:

Media coverage of the accident thus far:

Power Loss Connected to Spillway Helicopter Crash?

The crash occurred at the Bonnet Carré Spillway Bridge around the same time nearly 20,000 Entergy Louisiana LLC customers lost power. While the media reports the two events together, it’s unclear what the connection is between the two. In general, spillways are how dam engineers regulate water levels, and they’re a critical part of generating hydroelectric power.

However, it’s not yet evident how a crash on the Bonnet Carré Spillway Bridge could have caused a massive power outage to residents of Kenner nearby. With the NTSB, the FAA, and the Louisiana State Police investigating the case, the facts should come to light soon enough.

Louisiana Helicopter Crash Facts

Helicopters have higher accident rates than planes. For every 100,000 miles traveled in a helicopter, there is a 40% higher chance of an accident. About a third of all helicopter accidents occur in the United States, in part because helicopters are a common way to transport both offshore workers and corporate executives (depending on the context).

Helicopters don’t require as much storage space or infrastructure as planes. For instance, helicopters require very little space to land or takeoff. As a result, they’re a cheaper and more reliable form of air travel for short distances. This also means that helicopters can experience far more takeoffs and landings without maintenance checks than a typical commuter airplane.

The Louisiana helicopter crash lawyers at Arnold & Itkin LLP have investigated helicopter accidents before. Our experience investigating offshore incidents and aviation crashes makes us particularly suited for investigating helicopter accidents, which often involve offshore companies or water-based factors. Sadly, very few helicopter crashes are surprising to those who own or maintain aircraft.

Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. We hope the reasons for this crash are uncovered soon, and that any responsible parties are held accountable.

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