Herbert Hoover's great-grandson killed in Pa. copter crash

Doug Brigham was killed in a helicopter crash this morning, October 17, 2012.
Doug Brigham was killed in a helicopter crash this morning, October 17, 2012.
Posted: October 18, 2012

The pilot killed this morning in a helicopter crash in Bucks County was great-grandson of former President Herbert Hoover, according to his mother's obituary.

Douglas Brigham, a retired State Police corporal from Erwinna, died early this morning when a private helicopter he was operating exploded and crashed in a wooded area atop a hill near the Delaware River in the Erwinna section of Tinicum Township, authorities said.

The area, just off River Road, is across from Frenchtown, N.J. The crash is under investigation by federal aviation authorities.

According to an obituary posted on www.Remembering Pa.us, Margaret Hoover Brigham of West Chester, who died in 2011 at the age of 84, "was the oldest grandchild of President Herbert Hoover."

That would make Douglas Brigham, named in the obituary as her son, Hoover's great-grandson.

The Pennsylvania State Police and Tinicum Township police did not immediately return calls.

The crash occurred just after 6:30 a.m., a few miles from the Van Sant Airport, owned by the Bucks County Airport Authority.

But it appeared the aircraft took off from Brigham's nearby home. The airport's phone was busy at mid-morning.

A number of witnesses were quoted by the Breaking News Network as saying they heard a loud explosion near Uhlerstown Road and Everbreeze Drive, and then saw flames.

Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said it has been difficult for investigators to get information on the aircraft since the tail was so badly burned.

"We don't know how many people were on board the helicopter," Peters said.

The National Transportation Safety Board will assume responsibility for investigating the crash, he said.

The helicopter likely did not have to file a flight plan, according to Peters, so information about the route or purpose of the flight was not immediately available.

The FAA requires all aircraft to be registered and that number is placed on the tail.

It's most likely that the helicopter was flying under visual flight rules, which operate under certain conditions such as clear, bright days.

"Our information is very preliminary and subject to change," Peters said.

Contact Bonnie L. Cook ag 610-313-8232 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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