On May 31, a Cessna 150 airplane carrying two men crashed near the Front Range Airport in Aurora, Colorado. The pilot, Amritpal Singh, and a passenger were both killed. Now a National Transportation and Safety Board investigation says that the crash was “likely” caused by the pilot’s attempt to take a selfie.
The plane’s windshield had a mounted GoPro, and on the day of the crash, it recorded Singh and multiple passengers taking selfies and texting during several short flights. Specifically, there is footage of Singh posing and messaging on a short flight minutes before he embarked on the flight that crashed. The GoPro wasn’t recording during that last flight, but NTSB has concluded that the crash fits into a pattern of distracted flying.
Of the flight where the GoPro was recording, NTSB wrote, “The GoPro recordings revealed that the pilot and various passengers were taking self-photographs with their cell phones and, during the night flight, using the camera’s flash function during the takeoff roll, initial climb, and flight in the traffic pattern.”
The investigation also notes that Singh wasn’t certified for night flying with instruments or night flying with passengers. NTSB explains:
Based on the wreckage distribution … it is likely that the pilot experienced spatial disorientation and lost control of the airplane … 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.
Selfies aren’t worth risking your life, people. Don’t text or selfie and drive (any type of vehicle). Also, it’s pretty great that NTSB calls them “self-photographs.” But seriously, safety first.