In late March 2023, a Robinson R-44 police helicopter crashed while joining a criminal pursuit in Louisiana. The crash resulted in the fatalities of both Baton Rouge Police Department officers — Sgt. David Poirrier and Cpl. Scotty Canezaro — on board. It took several hours for search crews to locate the downed craft.
Initially, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the tail rotor hit the top of the tree line, causing the helicopter to crash. However, a few days later, it recanted the statement and announced the cause of the fatal aviation accident was “unknown,” and opened a wider investigation into the situation. Among the little details known to the public at this time, flight data shows that the helicopter’s speed was erratic, varying rapidly between around 40 mph to upwards of 102 mph. A spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said its investigators were highly interested in studying that flight data.
Suspicions of mechanical failures have quickly arisen, too. For the helicopter to make such abrupt and varying speed changes during neutral or tranquil weather and wind conditions, it might suggest that there was an unexpected issue with the engine or rotors.
Attorney Timothy Loranger of Wisner Baum, a helicopter crash lawyer of the nationwide litigation firm, is concerned that the helicopter will be a key factor in the ongoing investigations. He was quoted saying, "While it will take months before we know what caused the crash that killed these officers, one thing we do know is that Robinson helicopters seem to crash far more frequently than other civilian helicopters. Because Robinsons were designed to be financially approachable, they have unique design characteristics which make them more challenging to fly, and what we have found in the cases we have handled is that these characteristics are a very serious concern when it comes to safety."
Until more information is known about the crash, Baton Rouge locals can only mourn the fallen officers who risked their lives in the line of duty. From everyone at Wisner Baum, we salute Sgt. Poirrier and Cpl. Canezaro, thank the officers of the Baton Rouge Police Department who have lost two brothers, and offer our sincere condolences to their families.
For more information about this developing story, you can click here to visit a full article from BR Proud, a local news publication in Baton Rouge. Our team will be paying close attention to the investigation as it progresses, so be sure to visit our blog often for important updates. If you need our help with an aviation accident claim or another personal injury lawsuit, please contact us at any time. Thank you.