Low fuel cited in fatal crash of Missouri patrol copter

Thursday, January 12, 2012 | 9:09 a.m. CST

ST. LOUIS — Federal authorities say a Missouri State Highway Patrol helicopter was dangerously low on fuel when it crashed near St. Louis in 2010, killing the pilot.

The National Transportation Safety Board says the helicopter had only three quarts of jet fuel in its tank before it crashed while returning to an airport in Chesterfield after a patrol.

The pilot, 47-year-old Patrol Sgt. Joe Schuengel, died when the 1981 the Bell 206B JetRanger crashed. He was the only person aboard and no one on the ground was hurt.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the NTSB report did not detail a likely cause of the accident.

A Federal Aviation Administration report found Schuengel had traces of antidepressants, anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory medications in his system.


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