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March 20, 2014 at 12:35 PM

NTSB investigators return to Seattle helicopter crash site

Investigators examine, then remove, sections of railing around the helipad on top of the Fisher Plaza Building on Broad Street in Seattle on Thursday. KOMO News is located the building. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)
Investigators examine, then remove, sections of railing around the helipad on top of the Fisher Plaza Building on Broad Street in Seattle on Thursday. KOMO News is located the building.  (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

Investigators examine, then remove, sections of railing around the helipad on top of the Fisher Plaza Building on Broad Street in Seattle on Thursday. KOMO News is located the building. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

Federal investigators have returned to the scene of a Seattle helicopter crash, examining a railing and trees for potential clues into what caused the fatal accident.

Dennis Hogenson, acting deputy chief of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Western Pacific Region, said Thursday that investigators may take more components and pictures from the scene. One area of focus was the railing surrounding the helicopter pad, which could show damage that would provide insight into how the helicopter tumbled to the street below.

Investigators removed a portion of the railing for examination.

Damage to nearby trees could also provide information useful to the probe.

“They’re looking for any potential clues of what happened,” Hogenson said.

The investigation remains broad in scope, with the NTSB reviewing maintenance records, the pilot’s history, surveillance video, witness statements and information from construction-crane operators in the area.

A complete investigation to determine the cause could take up to a year.

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