In August 2011, James Freudenbert, Randy Bever, Chris Frakes and Terry Tacoronte all died in a tragic medical helicopter crash. Earlier this month it was officially determined by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board that Freudenbert’s texting was partly to blame for the crash. Freudenbert, of Missouri, was piloting the helicopter.
We have all heard of the terrible consequences of texting and driving and we have strongly encouraged everyone to never do it. However, this is the first time that texting has ever been a major player in a commercial-aviation crash. It was reported, that while the texting was not the key player in the crash, it certainly served as a distraction. Freudenbert received four texts while the helicopeter was in flight and responded to three. Before the flight, he had also been texting, making plans for dinner with a friend.
The main cause of the helicopter crash was the fact that it ran out of fuel. So what does texting have to do with running out of fuel? The NTSB determined that the texts most likely distracted Freudenbert from realizing that he wouldn’t have enough fuel to make it to the destination.
It is tragic that an accident like this had to happen, but it seems like it could have been prevented. Texting and driving a car is dangerous, but texting and piloting has also proven to be fatal. Regardless of the mode of transportation, if you are in control of it, leave your phone alone. Anything can wait until you are safely in park… or in this case, landed at your destination.