Taking selfies could have caused airplane crash in US

4 Feb 2015

Cessna 150 image via Aleksander Markin/Flickr

Pilots take note: Trying to fly a plane and take selfies at the same time is not an advised practice, as the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) thinks it caused a plane crash.

According to the report filed online by the NTSB, a flight involving a Cessna 150 light aircraft on 31 May last year resulted in the death of two people when it crashed. The reason for the crash was only discovered following examination of the wreckage.

Investigators sent to the crash site in Colorado discovered a GoPro camera in the plane that had been recording the plane at various times between 30-31 May and may have provided the clearest evidence of what could have caused the crash.

According to the six minutes of footage obtained from the GoPro, the report reads, “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”.

With no faults found in the plane and the spreading of wreckage found in high-speed crashes, the NTSB’s only conclusion is that the pilot must have experienced ‘spatial disorientation’, causing him to lose control of the plane.

“Based on the evidence of cell phone use during low-altitude manoeuvring, 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 report reads.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic