Aircraft Make: BELL
Aircraft Model: 47G
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: Serious
Activity: Aerial Application
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA San Antonio FSDO-17
N64702 BELL 47 ROTORCRAFT, DURING AERIAL AG OPERATION, STRUCK POWERLINES, CRASHED AND CAUGHT FIRE, NEAR BROWNSVILLE, TX
NEAR SAN BENITO — The pilot of a crop dusting helicopter remains in a San Antonio hospital. He received serious injuries after crashing in a Cameron County field.
Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration will be at the crash site on Friday. Their job will be to figure out how and why the helicopter crashed.
Thursday’s crash was an event unexpected by all involved.
“I heard this boom. I turned around and I saw the helicopter go down,” Jeannie Guajardo said. Her husband, James Guajardo, described the moment the helicopter crashed in their field near FM 803 and Ebony Road.
“I saw a gentleman kind of stumbling out. I ran to him, I get him by the arms. He was all burned up. I walked him to my truck and tell him to go ahead and lay down in my backseat,” James Guajardo said. Jeannie called 911, as her husband helped the pilot.
The pilot works for the Hendrickson Flying Service. The company was hired by the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation to spray cotton fields around the Valley.
Lindy Patton is president and CEO of the foundation. He said he’s glad the pilot survived the crash.
“We're very relieved that he was at least able to walk away,” Patton said. “I know he had some injuries, and I think he's been sent to San Antonio, I've heard. But our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. I don't know the pilot myself. I did look at some of his information when we certified the contractor and his aircraft and his pilots, and he had extensive flying time. I think it was over 5,000 hours of flying time.”
Patton said they don’t decided how much experience a helicopter pilot should have.
“It’s up to the independent contractor; it's his business, his private business,” Patton said. “As long as they have the flying time and can do a good job for us, and to my knowledge, they've done a really good job. We've never had any issues.”
Patton said despite Thursday’s crash, their work in the Valley is not over,
Currently, the full identity of the pilot is unknown. It is known that he is from Alabama and working for the Illinois-based aviation company.
It was last known that the pilot was in critical condition at a San Antonio hospital.
Story and video: http://www.krgv.com
Authorities are at the scene of a helicopter crash that happened late this morning outside Los Fresnos.
The accident occurred at about 11:30 a.m. on FM 803 and Ebony Road, said Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio.
Lucio said the helicopter pilot was able to get out of the aircraft before it burst in to flames.
The unidentified pilot has been transported to Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen. He is in critical condition. He is expected to be flown to a San Antonio hospital for further treatment, said Los Fresnos Fire Chief Gene Daniels.
Authorities said the helicopter clipped the power lines in the area and crashed.
A man in a nearby home heard the impact and called 9-1-1.
Cameron County sheriff’s deputies, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, local firefighters and Magic Valley Electric Company are at the scene.
Original article can be found here: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com
NEAR SAN BENITO – A 61-year-old helicopter pilot from Alabama is in San Antonio after crashing Thursday morning.
The crash happened between Los Fresnos and San Benito city limits on FM 803 and Ebony Road.
The remains of the crop duster helicopter are still on the private property. The Federal Aviation Administration will visit the scene on Friday.
Los Fresnos Fire Chief Gene Daniels said they received the call at around 11:30 a.m.
“EMS and fire department both responded when we got here. We had the helicopter on fire; the male subject that had been burned has been moved away from the fire. He actually walked away from the helicopter. We had a grass fire where the power lines went down, and the helicopter was on fire. So we had one truck working on the grass fire, the other truck was on the helicopter itself,” Daniels said.
The Los Fresnos Fire Department was able to completely put out both fires. Authorities inform the helicopter hit some power lines before hitting the ground.
DPS Sgt. Johnny Hernandez said the pilot remains in critical condition. He suffered severe burns on 75 percent of his body.
The helicopter was operating under the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation. It’s a foundation dedicated to remove the insect from cotton fields.
Daniels said the department had to be cautious when putting out the fire due to the chemical the chopper was carrying.
“You have to be conscious of what chemicals are carrying, identify them quickly in case they’re a hazard,” Daniels said. “There was less than 10 gallons of chemical in the helicopter.”
The scene is clear of any hazard. The fire department will continue to monitor the scene all throughout the day and night.
Story and video: http://www.krgv.com