The pilot of a helicopter crash in Hanford over the weekend walked away from the crash with minor injuries, according to information provided by the Kings County Sheriff's Office.
Kings County sheriff's deputies say the pilot, Benjamin Parker, 45, was flying low to the ground at approximately 8:08 a.m. Saturday when the bottom skids on the crop-dusting helicopter clipped the ground, causing the aircraft to crash.
"I think that's what saved his life," said Dave Putnam, assistant Kings County sheriff. "He was so low to the ground. There wasn't a hard impact."
Putnam said Parker was likely strapped into a seat belt of some kind.
The crash happened in a freshly plowed field northeast of the Highway 43/Idaho Avenue intersection.
Parker told deputies that the chopper flipped a few times before the fuselage came to rest on its side.
Parker suffered abrasions and bruises to his head, neck, hands and legs. He was transported to Adventist Medical Center in Hanford for evaluation.
The helicopter's agricultural chemical tanks were empty when it went down.
Joel Callison, who was working in a nearby field, heard the crash and drove over to see what had happened.
Callison asked Parker if he was OK, verified that there was no one else in the aircraft and called 911. He then waited until deputies arrived.
At the time of the crash, Parker was trying to enter information into a GPS device, according to Putnam.
Parker was on a training flight.
The crash broke off the helicopter's tail, leaving the main cockpit section intact and laying on its side in the field. Pieces of the rotors and other parts of the chopper were spread across a section of the field.
Putnam said the helicopter belonged to Hanford-based Marquis Aviation.
The Sentinel was unable to reach the company for comment Monday.
Putnam said the investigation into the cause of the crash is being conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration's Fresno office.
Original article can be found here: http://hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/pilot-survives-hanford-chopper-crash/article_d995d250-57d8-5f17-b274-ebdd748584dc.html