Saturday, July 8, 2017

Robinson R44 Raven I, N7224U, J R Aviation Inc: Accident occurred July 08, 2017 in Ireland, Madison Township, Dubois County, Indiana

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Indianapolis, Indiana

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

J R Aviation Inc:

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA267 
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Saturday, July 08, 2017 in Ireland, IN
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44, registration: N7224U
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 8, 2017, about 1040 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R44 helicopter, N7224U, impacted the ground following a loss of control while conducting an aerial application flight near Ireland, Indiana. Following the impact with the ground, a fire erupted and the helicopter was destroyed. The pilot received serious injuries. The aircraft was registered to and operated by JR Aviation , Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from an unconfirmed location at an unconfirmed time.

The pilot in the helicopter crash out of Dubois County has been identified.

We are told that at 10:44 a.m. Saturday, Keith Windsor, 42, of Charlestown was crop dusting in a single-occupant helicopter over fields near County Road 450 North.

Authorities say for some unknown reason, Windsor experienced mechanical issues and crashed into a bean field that was approximately one quarter of a mile south of 6720 West County Road 450 North.

We are told Windsor was able to exit the helicopter prior to it catching on fire.

Authorities say the helicopter was a total loss and destroyed as a result of the crash and fire. Windsor was flown by Air Methods medical helicopter to Saint Vincent Hospital in Evansville where he was treated for a broken leg and chest pains.

 Around 10:45 Saturday, a man piloting a small helicopter crashed in a bean field near 450 North in Jasper. 

The man escaped with injuries. 

Neighbors say they didn't hear the crash, but when they saw the smoke, they knew something went terribly wrong. 

"Well, the wife's in the house. She looked out the back window, she seen the [helicopter] on the ground,” Tony Hoffman said. 

“From here you can't really see what's all back there and if he's ok, or if he was still inside the helicopter or anything,” Tony’s daughter Emily Hoffman said.

It's not everyday someone sees a helicopter crash just beyond your backyard, but when the Hoffmans did, their first reaction was to help. Luckily for 42-year-old Keith Windsor, he made it out before the fire started. 

"We actually blocked the flames from the helicopter to the victim, because he couldn't move anymore, he had lower back pain. We wasn't gonna touch him,” Hoffman said. “We just told him to lay still, you know. He wanted to keep moving, keep moving; we don't know what the extent of his injuries are.” 

Indiana State Police have a better idea. 

"The pilot was airlifted to a hospital in Evansville. He suffered a broken femur, and had a complaint of chest pain. So given the circumstances of the crash, he came away pretty well,” Sergeant Phil Hensley said. “Had this been a deal where he had been trapped inside, this would've been a grave situation." 

ISP said Windsor was crop dusting the bean field near the Hoffman home. As to what happened, authorities are unsure. 

"Why exactly, we don't know. The FAA is currently en route to the scene from Indianapolis. They're gonna be the lead on this investigation,” Sergeant Hensley said. 

"You know it wasn't like he was doing anything crazy, so he didn't, and when we talked to him, he didn't know what happened to the plane,” Hoffman said. 

Windsor was airlifted to St. Vincent, but the hospital has not yet confirmed his condition.

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