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NTSB: Patrol chopper crash caused by lack of fuel

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Joseph G. Schuengel.
(Missouri State Highway Patrol)
Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Joseph G. Schuengel.

The National Transportation Safety Board has concluded that a fatal Missouri State Highway Patrol helicopter crash in 2010 happened because the chopper ran out of fuel.

The NTSB released a report Friday on the Oct. 15, 2010, crash in a neighborhood of Clarkson Valley, a St. Louis suburb. Patrol Sgt. Joe Schuengel, the pilot and lone passenger, died.

The report blamed the pilot's "inadequate preflight planning and decision-making." Schuengel's helicopter narrowly missed homes and no one on the ground was hurt.

The report also cited the pilot's improper judgment in flying with what the NTSB called disqualifying medical conditions - history of depression, anxiety and obstructive sleep apnea.

A patrol spokesman says several changes have been made concerning training and fuel requirements since the accident.