Sunday, July 8, 2018

Robinson R44 Raven, privately owned and operated by the commercial pilot, N616HS: Fatal accident occurred July 08, 2018 near Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport (KJGG), Virginia

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N616HS 

Location: Williamsburg, VA
Accident Number: ERA18FA187
Date & Time: 07/08/2018, 1633 EDT
Registration: N616HS
Aircraft: Robinson R44
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 8, 2018, about 1633 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R44-II, N616HS, was destroyed when it impacted a condominium building in Williamsburg, Virginia. The commercial pilot on-board the helicopter and one resident in the building were fatally injured. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport (JGG), Williamsburg, Virginia about 1640 and was destined for Stafford Regional Airport (RMN), Stafford, Virginia. The helicopter was privately owned and operated by the commercial pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot had flown from RMN to the JGG earlier that morning to attend a meeting at the airport. Airport personnel reported that the helicopter had been refueled, topping off both fuel tanks, prior to departure from JGG.

Review of preliminary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control radar data show the helicopter departed JGG about 1630, and then headed north toward the accident site. The helicopter climbed to a pressure altitude of about 1,700 feet. After reaching 1,700 feet, the helicopter leveled off, and the groundspeed increased from about 60 knots to about 110 knots over the next 1.5 minutes. The helicopter then entered a right decreasing radius turn, while descending, until tracking coverage was lost. At the last recorded position, the helicopter was in the vicinity of the accident site, descending at a rate greater than 10,000 feet per minute.

Several witnesses near the accident site described the helicopter as flying low, one estimated its height at about 100 feet above the ground, as it approached the two-story condominium complex. They described it as flying relatively straight and level or slightly descending, before suddenly pitching nose down and descending into the roof of the building. One witness described the helicopter as "rocking back and forth unsteadily" just before it pitched downward. Another witness located about 100 yards south of accident site recalled the engine making a "constant sound" as it flew over his head.

The helicopter impacted a two-story 10 unit condominium building located about 3 nautical miles north of JGG. The main wreckage came to rest inside the north end of the building, with some components including a section of the tail rotor drive shaft found along the 70-foot wreckage path extending from the building on a heading of about 20° magnetic.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that all the major components of the helicopter were present at the accident site except for the tail boom, the tail rotor, and tail rotor gearbox. The vertical stabilizer and aft bulkhead and a section of the tail rotor guard were located, however fire and building collapse damage prevented access to several areas surrounding the main wreckage. Many of the components were partially or completely consumed by a post-crash fire. Remnants of the removable copilot side controls were found near their stowed position. Remnants of all the pilot side controls were present. All hydraulic controls were identified with portions of all the push-pull rods extending from the hydraulic actuators. Portions of the flight control rods were thermally damaged. All main and tail rotor flight control rod ends were secure to their attachment points at both ends, except for the tail rotor gear box connection which was not recovered. The transmission input sheave (pully) was manually rotated in both the locking and freewheeling modes, and the main rotor drive shaft rotated with the sheave, with some interference from a damaged flex coupling. A score mark on the aft face of the upper sheave was about 4 inches long in the direction of rotation. The leading edges of both main rotor blades were dented and bent in several locations and remained attached to the rotor hub. About 1 foot of each tip of both blade spars were not recovered and most of the remainder of the main rotor blades were consumed by fire. The tail rotor gearbox mounting bolts were fractured consistent with overload. The transmission continuity was confirmed from the upper sheave to the main rotor mast and to the intermediate flex coupling. The main and auxiliary fuel tanks were severely damaged. The cap on the main tank was in place, the cap on the auxiliary tank was missing. Portions of the main and auxiliary fuel tanks were consumed by post-crash fire.

The engine crankshaft was rotated freely by hand. Both oil coolers, one on each side of the engine, exhibited grinding damage in line with the starter ring gear. Thumb compression and suction were present on all cylinders, though weaker on cylinder No. 5. The cylinder head and intake pipe for cylinder No. 5 received impact damage, and debris was found in the intake. All spark plugs exhibited normal wear and coloration as compared to the Champion check-a-plug chart, the number 4 and 6 bottom spark plugs were oil-soaked. Both magnetos were impact and fire damaged and could not be tested. Borescope inspection of all cylinders did not reveal any damage or scoring marks on piston tops, cylinder walls or valves. The fuel injection servo inlet screen was free of debris. The butterfly valve was found in the full open position however the input control rod was damaged and not connected, the mixture control actuator was too damaged to determine its position. The mixture control knob in the cockpit was found in the full rich position. All six fuel injector nozzles were found unobstructed.

A review of helicopter maintenance logbooks revealed that the most recent annual inspection was performed by the helicopter manufacturer on August 24, 2017, at an airframe total time of 619 hours, as part of the 12-year inspection and overhaul maintenance recommendation. The most recent recorded maintenance was an oil change and was performed on January 26, 2018 at an airframe total time of 649 hours. The airframe total time at the time of the accident could not be determined.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records, the 85-year-old pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, airplane multiengine land, instrument-airplane, and rotorcraft-helicopter. A review of his logbook revealed he had accumulated 5,693 total hours of flight experience, of which 1,919 hours were in rotorcraft, and of those, 545 hours were in the same make and model as the accident helicopter.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N616HS
Model/Series: R44 II
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KJGG, 49 ft msl
Observation Time: 1635 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 10°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.27 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Williamsburg, VA (JGG)
Destination: Stafford, VA (RMN)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 37.288333, -76.729444

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.

WILLIAMSBURG — The small, four-seat helicopter was in the air only a few minutes before something went wrong.

The Robinson R44 Raven II had flown about a mile from the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport on Sunday when it crashed into the Bristol Commons townhome complex off Ironbound Road, setting a 10-unit building on fire.

Witnesses to the crash said they heard an explosion before seeing the building go up in flames.

Bristol Commons resident Jean Lonchak Danylko, 91, and pilot Henry E. Schwarz of Alexandria, Virginia, were killed in the crash, authorities confirmed.

Since 1995, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a handful of special airworthiness information bulletins for the Robinson R44, which is not uncommon.

But some aviation lawyers say the R44 can experience certain mechanical issues and post-crash fires.

“The R44 does have a statistically higher accident rate than other helicopters,” said Ladd Sanger, a helicopter pilot and aviation attorney with Texas-based firm Slack Davis Sanger. “The question on this case is why did the helicopter come out of the air in the first place?”

Other pilots, such as Ray Jarman, membership coordinator for the Virginia Helicopter Association, say the R44 is safe.

“The R44 is one of the most popular models around,” Jarman said. “I take issue with that. That’s untrue as far as I’m concerned. They are not unsafe. Any aircraft can be unsafe if it operated outside of its design limits.”

Bristol Commons crash

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Doug Brazy said the four-seat, single-engine Robinson R44 helicopter left the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport around 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

The helicopter ended up crashing “halfway between the front and back” of the condo building, located in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive, Brazy said.

Fire officials worked through the night Sunday into Monday morning to put out the fire and remaining hot spots, allowing NTSB and FAA investigators to enter the building and approach the aircraft.

NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said investigators are typically on the scene for two to three days following aircraft crashes. The NTSB will release a final report on the cause in 12 to 24 months.

Brazy said Monday that he believed Schwarz was properly certified for flying helicopters and other aircraft.

Flight data on Schwarz’s helicopter shows he traveled to various states, including Texas, along the coast of California near Los Angeles, Arizona and more.

In response to the crash, Robinson Helicopter Co. also released a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, loved ones, and friends of those affected by the accident,” Robinson spokeswoman Loretta Conley said. “Robinson’s accident investigators are currently onsite assisting the FAA and NTSB with the investigation, which prevents us from commenting on this particular incident.”

R44 incidents

So far in 2018, NTSB records show there have been 11 crashes — three of which were fatal — involving Robinson R44 helicopters in the United States.

Since January 2000, 158 of 432 crashes involving R44s worldwide since have been fatal. The NTSB reports the cause of several recent crashes — including in Alaska and Wisconsin — as pilot error.

““When you encounter turbulence, you have to slow down,” Jarman said. “It’s like riding down an interstate highway at 70 mph and all of a sudden it turns into a secondary state highway and then gravel. If you don’t slow down that vehicle will be damaged.”

The New Zealand Department of Conservation no longer allows some Robinson helicopters, including the R44 and R22, to fly in that country’s airspace, according to news reports.

Since 1995, the FAA has issued 10 special airworthiness information bulletins for the R44. The bulletins cover parts such as carbon monoxide detectors, navigation equipment, rotor blades, alternator belts and a fuel tank bladder retrofit.

Special airworthiness information bulletins are not uncommon. In the past 60 days, the FAA has issued six bulletins for several manufacturers, including the Boeing Co. Other popular helicopter manufacturers, such as Airbus, have also seen bulletins issued for various models.

The R44 fuel tank was the subject of a Robinson service bulletin in December 2010, Conley said. The FAA also issued a special airworthiness bulletin for the same fuel tank issue in December 2012.

The service bulletin required R44 owners to fit the fuel tank with a bladder to improve the fuel system’s resistance to post-crash fuel tank leaks and fires.

The FAA did not mandate the replacements, according to NTSB records.

Several years before, in 2006, Robinson released a safety notice advising pilots and passengers to wear fireproof suits, gloves and helmets.

Sanger said a settlement in one of his cases in 2010 prompted the requirement for retrofitting tanks with bladders.

Conley said manufacturer’s records show that Schwarz’s R44, which exploded moments after impact Sunday, had been retrofitted with a bladder-type fuel tank.

“You can’t prevent all fires, but we’re looking to prevent post-crash fires in otherwise survivable accidents,” Sanger said.

Sanger added that it’s unlikely many helicopters are flying today without the bladder retrofit, although some may still have the original fuel tank.

“These tanks have proven to be extremely effective in minimizing fires in survivable accidents,” Conley said.

Knudson said the NTSB does not have additional comment or information on the crash beyond what was released Monday.

Lawsuits

Sanger has been practicing law for two decades and said he’s been involved in about a dozen R44-related cases.

There are several safety issues with R44s, including “mast bumping,” drive-belt system failures and rotor blade delamination.

In some situations, the high mast — the tower that extends from the top of the cabin to the rotor — can be hit by the rotor, causing an unbalanced condition in which the blades may hit the cabin, Sanger said.

Conditions such as turbulence, high travel speeds or certain pilot maneuvers can cause mast bumping.

The lamination on the rotors can also start to peel away if the helicopter is used in sandy or humid climates, making the aircraft less aerodynamic, Sanger said.

FAA compliance and regulations

FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said the issue of post-crash fires and crash-resistant fuel systems involves all makes of helicopters.

The NTSB has recommended that all newly manufactured helicopters have crash-resistant fuel systems installed.

According to the FAA, only seven manufacturers have built helicopter models that are fully compliant with the administration’s crash-resistant fuel-system safety standards. One Robinson helicopter, the R66, is on that list.

When developing aviation-related regulations, the FAA also must operate within the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which includes stipulations such as seeking the advice of interested parties, like the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee.

“We also must, under federal law, consider the cost and benefits of any regulatory actions,” Molinaro said.

The rulemaking advisory committee released a final report with recommendations on crash-resistant fuel systems on March 29. The report analyzed various helicopter crashes and determined the survivability of each crash, whether there was a post-crash fire, and the cause of the fire.

The Robinson R44 is mentioned once in the report, in a section about the material of fuel-tank liners for small versus large aircraft. In the section, the report states in-tank bladders have “ a proven field history of significantly reducing post-crash fire rates as was demonstrated in this report.”


https://wydaily.com




WILLIAMSBURG —Investigators have recovered the engine from the Robinson R44 Raven that crashed into a Williamsburg condominium building on Sunday, killing the pilot and a 91-year-old woman who lived in the complex.

Representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, the helicopter company and the engine’s manufacturer remained at the scene Tuesday, along with Williamsburg fire crews and members of the Virginia State Police.

One investigator was observed looking over the engine, while another was seen photographing parts of the aircraft that had been recovered from the heavily damaged building in the Bristol Commons neighborhood.

The Robinson R44 Raven is a small utility helicopter manufactured by the Robinson Helicopter Co. of Torrance, California. The rotorcraft, which can seat one pilot and three passengers, is powered by a 245-horsepower, six-cylinder engine made by Lycoming Engines of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It is 38 feet long and has a main rotor with a radius of 16½ feet, according to the manufacturer.

Doug Brazy, a  National Transportation Safety Board investigator, told reporters on Monday that the helicopter is about the size of a small car.

The crash happened shortly after 4:30 p.m. Sunday when the helicopter, which had taken off just minutes before from the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport, slammed into a 10-unit townhome building in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive. According to witnesses, the craft exploded moments after impact, sparking a fire that engulfed much of the building.

Charley Rogers, a fixed-based operator at the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport, confirmed that the pilot was Henry Schwarz of Alexandria, Virginia. Schwarz, the sole occupant onboard the aircraft, had taken off from the airport at 4:26 p.m. Sunday, Rogers said.

Federal Aviation Administration records show the helicopter has been registered to Schwarz since 2004.

The crash also killed Jean Lonchak Danylko, who lived in a first-floor townhouse in the building that was hit.

The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to issue a preliminary report on the crash within the next 10 to 14 days, Brazy said Monday.


Story and video ➤ https://wydaily.com



(WILLIAMSBURG, Va.) — One person is dead and the pilot of a helicopter is missing after a helicopter crashed into a condo complex in the popular destination town of Williamsburg, Virginia, on Sunday.

Virginia State Police said they responded to the crash in the Bristol Commons condominium complex just before 5 p.m. The crash caused the condo building to catch on fire, authorities said. Eyewitness video showed flames and thick smoke engulfing the entire two-story building.

State police confirmed one person in the condo building was killed in the accident.

The Federal Aviation Administration said on Twitter late Sunday that the accident involved an Robinson R44 Raven and only the pilot was on board. State police had said earlier in the evening they were still searching for the pilot. However, the FAA later said there were multiple victims.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are still investigating the cause of the accident.

Cmdr. Dave Hecht, spokesperson for Norfolk Naval Air Force Atlantic, told Hampton, Virginia, ABC affiliate WVEC that all of its helicopters were accounted for, but couldn’t say whether the helicopter may have belonged to another branch of the military.

The accident took place in a residential area near the campus of William and Mary, which warned people to stay away from the area.

Williamsburg is a popular tourist location with Colonial Williamsburg, an historical recreation of the 18th century town, and the amusement park Busch Gardens. The city includes many condominium timeshares.



WILLIAMSBURG — A person died in a condominium building that caught fire after being hit by a helicopter Sunday.

The 10-unit building in the Bristol Commons neighborhood of Williamsburg was gutted by the fire, which still wasn’t deemed under control hours after the crash.

Virginia State Police said there was one confirmed fatality in the building, and search and rescue is still ongoing. The person who died was not the pilot of the helicopter, state police spokeswoman Michelle Anaya said. Other identifying information was not available.

The building in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive was hit around 4:42 p.m., according to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

Other details — including how the crash happened, other injuries or type of helicopter — were not available by press time.

Residents who saw and heard the crash said before state police released information that it was a small helicopter that hit the building.

As crews battled the fire, pieces of the helicopter were visible on what was left of the structure. A piece of the building or the helicopter even fell on a firefighter. Much of the building was destroyed or damaged, but it looked to be contained to the one building in the complex.

Crews worked for several hours after the call came in. Along with Williamsburg fire and police personnel, College of William and Mary police, state police and York County’s drone team were at the scene.

The College of William and Mary sent out an alert about the crash, calling it an “aviation incident.” It advised the incident happened near the school’s Dillard Complex and told people to avoid the area.

Ironbound Road, which cuts between the apartment complex and the Dillard Complex, was closed for a couple hours after the crash.

As crews responded, dozens of people gathered around the building to watch.

Brook Sweeney, who lives across the street from the building that caught fire, said the impact sounded like a car crash.

Before that, he said, “I was upstairs when I heard what sounded like a helicopter flying really low overhead. The whole house shook and then I just heard a loud ‘bam’ and the whole house was on fire.”
Firefighters, police respond to aircraft crash reported in Williamsburg

Officials respond Sunday to a reported aircraft crash in a residential area in Williamsburg’s Settlement Drive.

Afterward, he helped out some people who lived in the building, he said, giving them water, clothes if they needed them, and getting them away from the commotion of firefighters working the scene and the people watching.

Donald Johnson, who lives in an apartment in the building that was hit, said, “It was 10 feet away from me. I was downstairs on the first floor when that thing hit and I had never heard a noise like that in my life. I just walked out and looked and got out, I was afraid it would blow up.”

Peggy Weiss also lives in the neighborhood and said she saw a small, rickety-looking helicopter crash in between two buildings.

Police said multiple agencies were working to identify and locate the pilot of the helicopter.

Anaya said crews couldn’t go into the building still around 8:45 p.m. because of hot spots inside. She expected the investigation to continue up to three days.

She did not know how many were displaced, but said the Red Cross was assisting people.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were notified of the crash. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Story and video ➤ http://www.dailypress.com


Update 8 p.m. Sunday: Virginia State Police have confirmed at least one person is dead after a helicopter crashed into a residential building in Williamsburg Sunday.

Virginia State Police, as well as local and federal agencies, are still working to locate and identify the pilot of the helicopter, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

Search and recovery efforts are ongoing inside the building, which is located in Bristol Commons in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Update 7:30 p.m. Sunday: The Federal Aviation Administration has arrived at the scene of a helicopter crash in the Bristol Commons neighborhood in Williamsburg.

In a tweet around 7:30 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said safety inspectors had arrived on scene and would release details about the crash as soon as information is available.

Update 6:50 p.m. Sunday: Virginia State Police are leading an investigation into a helicopter crash in Williamsburg.

The helicopter crashed into a residential building in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive in Bristol Commons Sunday afternoon, starting a fire in one of the buildings, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

Police responded to the emergency call at 4:42 p.m., Geller said.

“At this time, state police with the assistance of Williamsburg Police are still assessing the scene to determine what injuries, if any, have occurred and to identify the type of aircraft,” Geller said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were also on their way to the scene at 6:50 p.m.

Ironbound Road is back open to regular traffic, Williamsburg Police spokesman Maj. Greg Riley said.

Original story:

Authorities are on the scene of an “aviation incident” near the Dillard Complex in Williamsburg.

Fire crews and law enforcement from several localities — including James City County, Williamsburg and York County — are on the scene in the Bristol Commons neighborhood off Ironbound Road.

The crash occurred in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive.

A William & Mary tweet instructed residents to avoid the area. Ironbound Road is closed between Longhill Road and Treyburn Drive.

Several witnesses on scene said they saw a helicopter in distress in the area shortly before hearing sirens.

Paul Leslie, who lives in a building near the location of the crash, said he heard a helicopter “come overhead” that “basically didn’t sound right.”

He witnessed the helicopter crash into one of the buildings in Bristol Commons, heard an explosion, then saw the fire start, he said.

“Everybody here responded very quickly to get people out of the building,” Leslie said.

Leslie believes there are 10 apartments in the building, and he and others banged on all the doors of all the apartments to make sure people were out of the building.

Another resident, Brook Sweeney, has lived across the street from the affected apartment unit since October 2017. He lives with his girlfriend, Kaeley Claredy.

He said he thought the noise he heard was a motor vehicle accident.

“The way my house shook — it shook and shook,” Sweeney said. “It was like nothing I’d ever felt or heard before.”

At 5:55 p.m., Williamsburg Police spokesman Maj. Greg Riley said police were working to clear traffic block on Ironbound Road so it would reopen for regular traffic. He said he hoped the road would be clear between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m.

Story and video ➤ https://wydaily.com



WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – At least one person was killed after a helicopter crashed sparked a fire at the Bristol Commons Townhomes near the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg Sunday afternoon.

Virginia State Police said troopers responded to a 911 call about an aircraft crashing into a "residential structure" in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive just before 4:45 p.m.

Officials at the College of William & Mary said the crash happened near the Dillard Complex.

"The impact of the crash caused a fire within the townhouse structure," troopers said.

Photos from Kaeley Clardy show firefighters batting a blaze at the building.

Chopper video from the area from after 6:30 p.m. showed most of the flames had been knocked down and firefighters working on the ground.

WTVR CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns estimated that damage to the complex is “incredibly extensive.”

State police said there was one confirmed fatality inside the townhouse complex as of 8:15 p.m.

"Federal, state and local police, with the assistance of the Williamsburg Fire Department, are working to locate and identify the pilot of the helicopter," troopers said.

A witness told Burns that he will never forgot the sound of the helicopter colliding with the side of this townhouse complex.

"One resident told me he spoke to a man who was 10 feet away from where the aircraft struck," Burns said. "That man was able to get to safety."

That witness suspected that authorities may have known the helicopter was in distress prior since he estimated crews arrived "30 seconds" after the crash. However, there has been no official word if that is the case.

Additionally, Burns said parts of the helicopter were strewn across the complex’ parking lot and driveway.

Troopers are working to determine what type of aircraft crashed into the building.

Officials said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are responding to the crash scene.

Story and video ➤ https://wtvr.com



WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – A helicopter crash sparked a fire at the Bristol Commons Townhomes near the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg Sunday afternoon.

Virginia State Police said troopers responded to a 911 call about an aircraft crashing into a "residential structure" in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive just before 4:45 p.m.

Officials at the College of William & Mary said the crash happened near the Dillard Complex.

"The impact of the crash caused a fire within the townhouse structure," troopers said.

Photos from Kaeley Clardy show firefighters batting a blaze at the building.

Chopper video from the area from after 6:30 p.m. showed most of the flames had been knocked down and firefighters working on the ground.

WTVR CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns estimated that damage to the complex is “incredibly extensive.”

A witness told Burns that he will never forgot the sound of the helicopter colliding with the side of this townhouse complex.

State police with help from Williamsburg Police were still assessing the scene to determine if anyone was injured as of 7:10 p.m.

"One resident told me he spoke to a man who was 10 feet away from where the helicopter struck," Burns said. "That man was able to get to safety."

That witness suspected that authorities may have known the helicopter was in distress prior since he estimated crews arrived "30 seconds" after the crash. However, there has been no official word if that is the case.

Additionally, Burns said parts of the helicopter were strewn across the complex’ parking lot and driveway.

Troopers are working to determine what type of aircraft crashed into the building.

Officials said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are responding to the crash scene.

Story and video ➤ https://wtvr.com














Williamsburg, Va. — A helicopter crashed Sunday into a residential townhome building in Williamsburg, Virginia near the campus of William & Mary, authorities said.

Williamsburg police told WRAL News that the helicopter went down after 4:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive. Authorities have not yet said if any injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of the crash.

The communications office of the College of William & Mary tweeted that an "aviation incident" has been reported in a residential area near Dillard Complex.

The impact of the crash ignited a fire at the building, which is surrounded by other residential units.

Video from the scene shows that the roof of a building was apparently sheared off and a large amount of charred debris was visible at the site. Smoke was seen rising from the crash location, and there was a small portion of a roof that was still burning around 6 p.m.

A spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police said the cause of the crash is under investigation.

It was not immediately clear who owned the helicopter.

People who live in the area described hearing a low-flying helicopter before a loud explosion and fire.

"I was downstairs on the first floor when that thing hit and I had never heard a noise like that in my life," Donald Johnson, told the Virginian-Pilot.

Story and video ➤ https://www.wral.com

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mast bump?

Anonymous said...

The pilot/owner was 85 ...... enough already! Sometimes you just have to "it" up.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you just have to give "it" up.

Jim B said...

No body, no pilot. Just the facts madame.

Jim B said...


Ok, the Investigators found the pilot's body. After all that conflagration it must have taken quite an effort.

Hard to say adverse weather was involved. It was a calm sunny Sunday afternoon after the heat wave settled down the previous day. Nice to be outside with an 84F temp.

8-Jul-18:
KJGG 082035Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR 29/10 A3027 RMK AO1
KJGG 082135Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR 29/12 A3027 RMK AO1

My sadness is mostly for the elderly lady who was minding her own business. Her last minutes must have been terrifying and painful. His was too.

He was an experienced R44 pilot to his credit.