The accident aircraft was a Bell UH-1H, similar to this one.
|Date||January 17, 2018|
|Site||Raton, New Mexico|
|Aircraft type||Bell UH-1H Iroquois|
|Flight origin||Raton Municipal Airport|
|Destination||Folsom, New Mexico|
On January 17, 2018, a Bell UH-1H Iroquois helicopter of Sapphire Aviation crashed near Raton, New Mexico, United States. Five of the six people on board were killed. The sole survivor was in serious condition.
The aircraft served with the United States Army (as serial number "67-17658") and saw action during the Vietnam War, it crashed on 31 May 1969 at Firebase Eagles Nest. It was returned to the United States and repaired and used by the Ohio Army National Guard before being retired to the Firelands Military Museum in Ohio.
The helicopter crashed and caught fire east of Raton, New Mexico. Both pilots and three of the four passengers on board were killed, including Zimbabwean politician Roy Bennett and British world record holder Charles Burnett III. Burnett had set the record for a steam-powered car in 2009. The sole survivor, who was the co-pilot's daughter and a business partner of Charles Burnett, was seriously injured but was able to raise the alarm by cellphone. Although she was unable to give the location of the crash, it was located by New Mexico State Police on a ranch 15 miles (24 km) east of Raton.  The aircraft was flying from Raton Municipal Airport to a site in Folsom, New Mexico. It crashed at about 18:00 local time. The Albuquerque Journal reported that the pilot had said that there had been mechanical problems with the helicopter the day before the accident. It was stated that these had been fixed before the fatal flight.
|Wikinews has related news: Zimbabwean politician Bennett and four others die in New Mexico helicopter crash|