MEDFORD, Ore. — A new development in the deadly Iron 44 helicopter crash, in which 9 people were killed in 2008. Two former officials with Carson Helicopters are now facing criminal charges for making false statements about helicopter safety and endangering the aircraft.
The Department of Justice handed down those indictments on Monday. The 25-page indictment from the Department of Justice says two former Carson Helicopter employees withheld information and lied about safety limits on its helicopters in 2008.
One helicopter they are accused of lying about is the same helicopter from the Iron 44 crash in 2008, which crashed in Northern California and killed 9 people on board. There have been a number of investigations into the crash in the years’ since.
In 2010, the National Transportation Safety Board found Carson lied about the helicopter’s weight limit, and said the crash could have been prevented. Now, the Department of Justice has indicted two former Carson Helicopter officials, former Vice President Steven Metheny and Maintenance Manager Levi Phillips, for defrauding the U.S. Forest Service and lying to get more than $20 million in contracts.
Metheny is also charged with 22 counts of mail and wire fraud, making false statements, endangering the aircraft safety by falsifying documents about the weight limits and safety features of nine helicopters. One of those was the same aircraft in the Iron 44 crash. Metheny was fired in 2009 after Carson learned about his suspected actions. Phillips was suspended this week when the indictment was released.
Carson Helicopters released a statement saying it has fully cooperated with the agencies conducting the investigation. The crash survivors and families of victims also did not want to speak. One said it brings back painful memories.