LAS VEGAS — Investigators from three federal agencies converged on the Nevada Test Site on Thursday to probe the wreckage of a security helicopter crash that killed five people at the top-secret nuclear facility.
Two pilots and three security guards died when the Department of Energy helicopter crashed Wednesday night in mountainous terrain on the sprawling test range about 110 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
The crash was the worst accident in the history of the 40-year-old facility, where the nation's nuclear weapons are exploded in periodic underground tests.
Investigators from the DOE, Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were taking part in the investigation, DOE spokesman Chris West said.
West said the victims were on a routine surveillance flight when the Messerschmitt BO-105 helicopter went down shortly after 9:15 p.m., about 20 miles from where it took off.
Killed were Glenn W. Ewton Jr., 54, and Dennis J. Longman, 48, both pilots aboard the helicopter. West said it was not known which man was flying the craft.
Also killed were Richard Lowry, 51, George Tolster, 34, and Robert Brooks, 28, all employees of Wackenhut Security, a guard service under contract with the department, said another DOE spokesman, Darwin Morgan.