DENVER, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A pilot who was taking selfies while flying at night probably got disoriented, contributing to the crash of a small airplane in a field outside Denver that killed him and his passenger, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
Amritpal Singh, 29, and a passenger were traveling aboard a small Cessna when it crashed in a wheat field just west of Front Range Airport on May 31.
NTSB investigators said Singh likely took two flights that night. The final flight took off about midnight and crashed minutes later. The aircraft bounced once before it stopped. Investigators found Singh's GoPro camera and cellphone near the wreckage. Although the camera did not record the crash, it recorded other events from the evening, investigators said.
"The GoPro recordings revealed that the pilot and various passengers were taking self-photographs with their cellphones and, during the night flight, using the camera's flash function during the takeoff roll, initial climb and flight in the traffic pattern, the NTSB said.
The NTSB said it's likely the flash caused the pilot "spatial disorientation," and he lost control of the aircraft.
"Based on the evidence of cellphone use during low-altitude maneuvering, including the flight immediately before the accident flight, it is likely that cellphone use during the accident flight distracted the pilot and contributed to the development of spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control," the NTSB said.