NTSB: Selfies, cell phone use blamed in May 2014 plane crash near Front Range Airport

WASHINGTON - Investigators say a pilot taking selfies, and using his cell phone during a flight, is the probable cause of a crash that killed him and a passenger.

The small Cessna crashed in a field just west of Front Range Airport on May 31, 2014, killing pilot Amritpal Singh, 29.

Singh's family told 7NEWS the other victim was a musician in town for a concert at Adams City High School. Singh's family said Singh was giving airplane rides to some of the people in town for the concert.

The National Transportation Safety Board report said the pilot took off just after midnight. He crashed four minutes later. The plane was reported missing at 3:30 a.m. It was found at 7:30 a.m.

"The airplane impacted the field with the left wing first, bounced one time and came to rest upright," the crash investigation report said.

The report says the right wing came off and was found on top of the left wing. One seat came out of the plane. The other stayed inside.

Investigators said, "The evidence is consistent with an aerodynamic stall and subsequent spin into terrain."

Radar showed the plane took two flights on the night it crashed. The first lasted 6 minutes and landed.

Eight minutes later, the plane took off on a second flight. That flight crashed minutes later, according to the NTSB.

Inside the plane, investigators said they found the pilot's cell phone and GoPro camera. The GoPro had seven videos on it that appeared to show five different flights, including what is believed to be the first flight that night, but the GoPro did not record the crash.

Investigators noted that in several videos, the pilot was seen taking "self-photographs."

The investigator also noted that on one flight, "The pilot made some slight negative-G control movements and Passenger #2 was entertained."

On the recording of the first flight on the night of the crash, investigators said, "During the climb out portion of flight, the pilot uses his cell phone to take a self-photograph. The camera's flash was activated and illuminated the cockpit area."

Investigators said, "Based on the evidence of cell phone use during low-altitude maneuvering, including the flight immediately before the accident flight, 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 NTSB said the probable cause of the crash was, "The pilot’s loss of control and subsequent aerodynamic stall due to spatial disorientation in night instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s distraction due to his cell phone use while maneuvering at low-altitude."

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