CREATED Jul. 30, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Investigators found no "abnormalities" in a harness used during a search and rescue mission that ended in the death of a Las Vegas police officer, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.
The report, released Tuesday, comes less than 24 hours after Officer David Vanbuskirk was laid to rest. Vanbuskirk, 36, fell and died while rescuing a hiker near Mount Charleston during a helicopter mission on July 22.
"We didn't find any anomalies with components of the hoist harnesses or attach points," said Patrick Jones, air safety investigator for the NTSB, in a telephone interview with Action News.
Jones said it's still to early to answer the big question: what went wrong? The NTSB said some equipment from the aircraft is heading to a lab in Washington, D.C., for a closer look.
"We're just looking at everything and we're trying not to discount anything at this point," said Jones.
A variety of factors is still possible including potential human error, said Jones. So far, investigators have only ruled out weather as a factor, said Jones. The report is preliminary and could change.
Vanbuskirk acknowledged the dangers of his job during a video played at his memorial service on Monday.
"In search and rescue, in what we do, 99.99 percent of the time the scene is not safe," Vanbuskirk said.
Jones, the investigator, told Action News the NTSB has already interviewed several people but would not say who or provide any details on which equipment was sent to the lab. Investigators still have more people to interview, Jones said.
Metro Police did not comment on the preliminary report.
Investigators will have to submit a final report to the NTSB board, which could take up to a year, Jones said.