Monday, September 21, 2020

Canadian Home Rotors Safari, N60WD: Fatal accident occurred September 19, 2020 in Red Bud, Randolph County, Illinois

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.

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Springfield, Illinois 

Location: Red Bud, IL 
Accident Number: CEN20LA400
Date & Time: September 19, 2020, 14:00 Local
Registration: N60WD
Aircraft: DEROUSSE Safari 
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On September 19, 2020, about 1400 central daylight time, an experimental Safari helicopter, N60WD, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Red Bud, Illinois. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

Surveillance video footage depicted the helicopter hovering near a storage building; however, the accident sequence itself was not captured. The helicopter appeared to be operating normally at that time.

A witness mowing her lawn across the street observed the helicopter approaching before the accident. She noted the pilot usually proceeded between a bank and the storage building. After completing a mowing pass, she looked toward the storage building and the “tail of the helicopter” appeared to contact the building. The helicopter subsequently came to rest on its left side adjacent to the building and a postimpact fire ensued.

A postrecovery examination of the airframe and engine is planned.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: DEROUSSE
Registration: N60WD
Model/Series: Safari 
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SAR,538 ft msl
Observation Time: 14:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C /5°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 40°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.29 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Red Bud, IL (PVT)
Destination: Red Bud, IL (PVT )

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 38.211666,-90.014999 (est)
Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Welda W. DeRousse
November 07, 1945 - September 19, 2020

WELDA W. DEROUSSE, JR., 74, of Red Bud, Illinois, passed away at 2:03 pm, Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Red Bud, Illinois. He was born to the late Welda W. and Ethel (nee Lux) DeRousse, Sr. on November 7, 1945 in Kellogg, Illinois. Welda married Carol Romay on October 16, 1971 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, she survives. 

Welda had owned and operated DeRousse Heating and Air from 1976 - 2010 and also owned EZ Self-Storage in Red Bud, Illinois since 1993. He was a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Red Bud, Illinois, River Road Cruiser’s, Knights of Columbus # 12152 in Red Bud, VFW Post #6632 in Red Bud and American Legion Post #622 in Prairie du Rocher. 

Welda was an advocate for Pro-Life. He volunteered at church functions and also at the local hospital and nursing home. He enjoyed flying and had his helicopter and pilot license. He also enjoyed restoring vehicles and he was an inventor.  He was a Vietnam Army Veteran.


Wife: Carol DeRousse Red Bud, IL

2 Children: Taryn (Chad) Grohmann Waterloo, IL,  Damon (Brandi) DeRousse Red Bud, IL

3 Siblings: Dorothy Campbell Sparta, IL, Marjorie J. Gregory Evansville, IL, Mary (Bruce) Ferguson Highland Ranch, CO

1 Brother-in-law: Terry Romay Prairie du Rocher, IL

1 Sister-in-law: Denise (Jerry) Falk Red Bud, IL

6 Grandchildren: Bayle DeRousse, Lucas, Zachary & Brooke Grohmann and  Lane & Weston Brockmeyer

4 Nephews:  Brandon (Lindsay) Eggemeyer, Del Hentis, Ronnie Hentis and Jacob Romay

1 Great Niece:  Braylin Eggemeyer

Preceded in death by: Parents, 1 Sister – Buelah (Shorty) Hentis, 1 Brother – Ardell DeRousse 2 Brothers-in-law – Johnny Campbell & Robert Gregory, In-laws – Leo & Thelma Romay and Grandparents-in-law – Daniel and Pearl Brown

Private Funeral Mass:
Saturday, September 26, 2020

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Red Bud, Illinois

Msgr. Dennis Schaefer

St. John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery
Red Bud, Illinois

Friday – 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Saturday – 8:00 am – 9:30 am

Pechacek Funeral Homes, Red Bud, Illinois
We are limited to 25 people in our building at a time. We ask that everyone wears a mask and please use social distancing guidelines.

Life Network of Waterloo
St John the Baptist Catholic School in Red Bud

An experimental helicopter crashed Saturday afternoon off Market Street in Red Bud, killing one person, according to Illinois State Police.

The sole male occupant of the helicopter died.

Firefighters arrived on scene around 2:20 p.m., said firefighter J.R. Hudson. The helicopter crashed into a the E.Z. Self Storage unit at 1290 W. Market St.

The impact damaged one of the storage units, which police cordoned off with yellow tape. There were signs of fire and smoke damage on the heavily dented metal exterior of the building.

Illinois State Police, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the crash.

Lower Milford Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania

LOWER MILFORD TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania -- It's certainly no bird nor plane, but you might have seen it flying over southern Lehigh County Friday afternoon.

"It was an interesting Friday night," said Jeff McElhaney.

Imagine you're in your backyard, much like McElhaney was, when you see something falling out of the sky, plummeting right toward you.

"As it came closer, it was clear that it was an object and I thought 'okay, maybe it's a satellite,'" said McElhaney.

Indeed, it did look like one but it's technically an antenna. It's 10 feet long, 5 feet wide and found its ultimate resting place in a tree in TJ Seidenberger's front yard in Lower Milford Township. He and his family weren't home at the time of the crash but you can imagine his surprise.

"It was definitely wild, getting that phone call and then rushing home to see what all the commotion was about," said Seidenberger.

State Police and Lower Milford Fire Department acted quickly in carefully removing the antenna from the tree, but how did it get here? According to data from, we could see that a high-altitude balloon had taken flight and landed in an area similar to where the crash happened. The data we found, and the aircraft registration, links the balloon to Project Loon, which is operated by a subsidiary of Google's parent company, Alphabet Incorporated, and aims to provide better internet access to rural and remote areas.

This balloon crossed over into the commonwealth near Hagerstown, Maryland. According to this data, it appears to have detached from the antenna over Berks County. That's when the parachute was deployed, causing the payload to fall from 54,000 feet at almost 100 miles an hour, before finding a cozy place to land here in Lehigh County.

No one was hurt in the landing. WFMZ's Holly Harrar reached out to Google for comment but did not hear back. The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified of the incident, but officials say they did not decide on whether they will investigate the crash. Nevertheless, this neighborhood in Lower Milford Township has something to talk about.