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Tue, Mar 16, 2010

Pilot Killed In 2009 Oklahoma Helo Crash Tested Positive For Meth, Other Drugs

Passenger Was Also Killed In The Accident

A Medical Examiner in Tahlequah, Oklahoma has determined that 26-year-old Mark James Mahaney had taken methamphetamine and the generic pain medication propoxyphene prior to a flight which went down about a mile after takeoff from a private residence. He and his passenger, Darci Scraper, were killed when the helicopter crashed.

The medical examiners office released the toxicology report Friday. It says the substances were confirmed by tests on Mahaney's liver and brain.

According to the NTSB preliminary report issued shortly following the accident, Mahaney was flying a Robinson Helicopter R22 Beta, N3234G, which was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Tahlequah, Oklahoma on October 14, 2009, approximately 0435 CDT. A post impact fire ensued. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted without a flight plan. The private pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The flight departed a private residence approximately 0430 and was en route to Tahlequah Municipal Airport (KTQH), Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

According to local law enforcement, the pilot intended to fly to KTQH to meet a friend. The helicopter never arrived and the friend departed the airport without reporting the overdue helicopter. Family members filed a missing persons report on the passenger on the afternoon of the 15th and the wreckage was located from the air the morning of the 16th.

Robinson Helicopters File Photo

The helicopter impacted an open field, adjacent to a small stream on a magnetic heading of 105 degrees and a field elevation of 800 feet mean sea level (msl), one mile southeast of the departure location. Debris was scattered for approximately 220 feet. The main wreckage consisted of the main rotor blades, the mast and transmission, the fuselage, engine, and tail boom assembly.

The Tahlequah Daily Press reports that the mother of Darci Scraper has filed a wrongful death suit against Mahaney's estate, his parents, Robinson Helicopter, and others. It is pending in Oklahoma's Cherokee County District Court.

FMI: www.oscn.net, www.ntsb.gov

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