US pilot who crashed plane, killing himself and passenger, was taking selfies in the cockpit

The wreckage of the crashed Cessna 150 airplane lying in a field near Watkins, Colorado on May 31, 2014. The pilot was taking selfie pictures with his phone before he crashed, killing himself and a passenger, investigators found. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
The wreckage of the crashed Cessna 150 airplane lying in a field near Watkins, Colorado on May 31, 2014. The pilot was taking selfie pictures with his phone before he crashed, killing himself and a passenger, investigators found. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A pilot who died when he crashed his small aircraft was distracted because he was taking cellphone selfies in the cockpit, likely contributing to the fatal accident, United States investigators said on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old and a passenger were killed instantly when his Cessna 150K smashed into a field on May 31 last year.

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) probe, using GoPro video taken in the cockpit, indicated that the pilot repeatedly took selfie photos with his phone leading up to the accident.

"The evidence is consistent with an aerodynamic stall and subsequent spin into terrain," said an NTSB report. "Based on the evidence of cell phone use during low-altitude maneuvering... 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."