- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2016

BENSON, Ariz. (AP) - Federal investigators say a fatal crash of a Cochise County Sheriff’s Office helicopter probably was caused by the pilot’s failure to take account of bad weather that hampered visibility.

The 2014 New Year’s Eve crash near Benson killed the pilot and mechanic, both employees of the Glendale company that supplied the aircraft.

A National Transportation Safety Board report says the probable cause was the pilot’s continued reliance on visual flight procedures when deteriorating weather conditions called for using instruments.

The report also says the pilot’s preflight planning was inadequate and contributed to the accident because he failed to note deteriorating weather conditions along the route.

The Cochise Air helicopter provided by Airwest Helicopters LLC crashed as it returned to Sierra Vista from a trip to Phoenix for routine maintenance.

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