HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - We're learning new information on the deadly helicopter crash in the De Soto National Forest.
All charges have been dismissed in the lawsuit filed by the lone survivor, Brendan Mullen. According to federal documents, a judge dismissed the charges against the manufacturers of the chopper and the engine builder.
It was one year ago today when Mullen and two other men were aboard a Bell helicopter assisting with a prescribed burn near the Harrison County/Stone County line when it suddenly crashed into a wooded area off Highway 67.
The preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board states, "According to a witness, seconds prior to the accident he observed the helicopter complete a 180 degree left turn to a northerly heading. About 7 seconds later he heard a sound that resembled an air hose being unplugged from a high pressure tank, which was followed by the helicopter impacting trees and then the ground."
The cockpit and cabin were destroyed by fire. NTSB investigators report the wreckage path was about 40 feet long, and several parts of the helicopter were found scattered around the wooded crash site. The helicopter took off from Wiggins and had been operating at a low altitude over the controlled burn area for about 50 minutes prior to the accident.
Steve Cobb, 55, of Wiggins and Brandon Ricks, 40, of Oklahoma were killed in the accident. Mullen somehow survived the deadly crash and managed to walk from the wreckage to a nearby road, despite his severe burns and fractures.
Cobb worked for the U.S. Forest Service as an engineering technician. Brendan Mullen, a forestry technician, was temporarily assigned to the De Soto National Forest at the time of the crash. Brandon Ricks was the pilot in the crash. He worked for T & M Aviation and was under contract with the U.S. Forest Service. Ricks had 8,000 hours of flight experience.
The final accident report by the NTSB is not available yet.