ACT News

Pilot in deadly crash was distracted taking selfies

A pilot who was killed along with his passenger in a single-engine plane crash was distracted while taking "selfies," federal officials found.

The New York Post reports that Amritpal Singh, 29, and his passenger were killed May 31 in the Cessna 150 near the Front Range Airport east of Denver, Colo.

A recording from a GoPro camera found by the wreckage in Watkins showed that the two had been taking "self-photographs" with their cellphones – using a flash as Singh took off at night, climbed and flew around the airport, according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Cessna, which was registered to Singh, then stalled and spun into the ground, the NTSB found.

"It is likely that cell phone use during the accident flight distracted the pilot and contributed to the development of spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control," the report said.

The agency found that an examination of the wreckage did not show any "pre-impact anomalies" that would have prevented normal operation of the plane.


"Based on the wreckage distribution, which was consistent with a high-speed impact, and the degraded visual reference conditions, it is likely that the pilot experienced spatial disorientation and lost control of the airplane," the report said.

Singh also did not meet requirements for flying at night with passengers.

The two-seater, built in 1970, took off just after midnight on May 31, 2014, from Front Range Airport, the Denver Post reported. Singh's family reported it missing at 3:45 a.m. and the wreckage was found about 7:30 a.m.

Singh was giving rides to some people who were in town for a concert at Adams City High School, his family said, according to the newspaper. The passenger was a musician.

"The airplane impacted a field and bounced one time before it came to rest upright," the NTSB said.

The camera did not capture the crash itself, investigators said.