A helicopter crash killed two people after it departed Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport on a maintenance test flight Wednesday afternoon.
According to investigators, the Robinson R44 helicopter left the airport about 4 p.m. and crashed in a parking lot at 128th Street and SW 122nd Avenue. Authorities confirmed that the helicopter started to fall apart in the air and the tail rotor came off off before the crash -- about 150 yards from impact scene. When it crashed, the chopper burst into flames.
"So right when I run out, I hear a second crash, a bigger crash on the palm trees and I hear an explosion," said Valerie Senior. "All the people in the warehouse were helping out, trying to put the fire out."
The helicopter was still burning when firefighters arrived.
The officials said two men on board were killed, and their identities will not be released until primary next of kin are notified. There were no injuries on the ground.
One witness reported seeing multiple birds in the air, Local 10's Terrell Forney reported. So a bird strike is one possible cause. NTSB investigators combed the area looking for dead birds but so far have not found anything.
Witnesses are urged to report bird sightings or any other information to witness@NTSB.Gov