Two Utility Workers Killed in Helicopter Crash in Northeastern New York

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Two utility workers were killed and two others were hurt when their maintenance helicopter got caught on power lines and crashed in rural northeastern New York, state police said.

Pieces of the aircraft dangled from power lines late Tuesday afternoon before falling beside cornfields in Beekmantown, about 20 miles south of the Canadian border near Lake Champlain.
The Federal Aviation Administration said that the Aerospatiale AS355F2 helicopter was in contact with electric lines and lit a fire at 4:16. The agency will investigate. The helicopter is owned by Catalyst Aviation LLC of Hammonton, N.J.

Police say the wounded were hospitalized and removed from the hospital.

A New York Power Authority spokesman said the two injured employees were working for Northline Utilities, a contractor who supervised and maintained power lines.

The New York Power Authority works with the Electrical Energy Research Institute to investigate drone-automatic inspection technology to make transmission system maintenance safer, more efficient and less expensive.

Transmission line inspection and maintenance is carried out by workers who have traditionally climbed high line towers or used a helicopter with a team of four. Both methods are very risky.

In January, two contractors died when their helicopters fell off while conducting transmission line inspections in northwest Ohio. During high-voltage line inspections in May 2015, Caledonia, Mich. A helicopter crashed near him, but the two crew members were unhurt. In 2014, three people died in a helicopter crash while conducting routine power line inspections in Silt, Colorado.

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