CHARLESTON, W. Va. – A Durham family is grieving tonight after a fatal helicopter crash killed their loved one.
The plane crashed Wednesday on its last scheduled flight at an annual reunion for helicopter enthusiasts in Logan County, West Virginia. All six people on board were killed.
The flight crashed about 6 miles northeast of Logan County Airport. Much of the wreckage was consumed in a post-crash fire, the agency said.
Durham resident Don Sandoff was inside with 5 others on Wednesday afternoon.
Sandoff’s son Carl told WRAL News his father stole while serving in the military – stationed for years at Fort Bragg.
“He loved to fly,” Carl said.
Last week, Sandoff traveled to West Virginia to attend an annual meeting for helicopter enthusiasts.
Sandoff posted a video of the Vietnam-era Bell UH-1B “Huey” helicopter days before the fatal flight.
The helicopter crashed along a 2-lane highway in Logan County, West Virginia, south of Charleston.
Bobby Child, who lives just down the road, rushed to the scene to try to save those on board.
“When we arrived the helicopter was on fire,” Child said. “I ran as fast as I could. The fire was so hot and so intense, [they] didn’t make it.”
Sandoff, 69, is survived by 4 children and 8 grandchildren.
“He was a family man, family meant the world to him,” Carl said. “Don was a loving husband, father and grandfather…He will be dearly missed by many.”
West Virginia’s chief medical examiner released the names of the six victims on Saturday. They are:
- John Nagle, 53, of Austin, Texas
- Donald Sandhoff, 69, of Durham
- Kevin Warren, 51, of Franklin, Tennessee
- Carolyn O’Connor, 73, of Winter Garden, Florida
- Marvin Bledsoe, 64
- Jack Collins, 65, both of Chapmanville, West Virginia
It is still unclear who was in the pilot’s seat.
Rides on the Vietnam-era Bell UH-1B “Huey” helicopter were offered by meeting organizer MARPAT Aviation, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
At the meeting, visitors could sign up to ride or fly the historic helicopter, described by organizers as one of the last of its kind still in flight.
The helicopter was flown by the 114th Assault Helicopter Company, “The Knights of the Sky,” in Vinh Long, Vietnam, for much of the 1960s, according to MARPAT. After the Huey returned to the United States, he was featured in films like “Die Hard”, “The Rock”, and “Under Siege: Dark Territory”.
WRAL News contacted Marpat Aviation.