Helicopter hits power, burns, and crashes – 2 killed, 2 survive. Harrowing video shows an upstate New York helicopter crash that killed two occupants and injured two others after the craft struck power lines during repair work, according to police and local reports.
The Aerospatiale AS355 burst into flames after coming into contact with the wires just south of the Canadian border, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the accident along with the National Transportation Safety Board.
Footage of the crash shows the flame-engulfed aircraft stuck in the power lines briefly before plummeting to the ground below.
The aircraft’s four occupants were rushed to University of Vermont Health Network at Champlain Valley Physician’s Hospital.
The pilot, Robert Hoban Jr., 56 of Shamang, NJ, and passenger Jeremy Kearns, 30, of Massena, NY, could not be saved, according to state police. Two others, Scott Fabia, 34, and Benjamin McAllister, 30, were treated and released.
Breaking News: Helicopter crash in #Beekmantown #NewYork. Video from a witness shows the chopper tangled in power lines before crashing. @_KOBrien is on scene and will be live with new details on @wcax Channel 3 News at 6. pic.twitter.com/XMZwcqD4d0
— Céline McArthur 🇺🇸 (@CelineTVNEWS) October 30, 2018
All four leaped from the burning chopper, falling from the height of the power poles there, about 40 feet.
A man who was working on a nearby garage helped pull them away before the burning wreckage of the chopper could fall on them.
It came crashing down less than 10 minutes later, he said, declining to give his name.
“They jumped out,” he said. “It was either jump out or burn to death.”
“You could hear the rotors and then all of a sudden just a really loud click and then an explosion,” he said.
The deadly explosion turned the normally quiet neighborhood into a flurry of activity as investigators tried to piece together exactly what caused the helicopter to crash into power lines.
“The helicopter hung on the line for a while. There was a piece of the helicopter still on the lines burning after the copter came down. As soon as it came down, it hit the ground and exploded,” Wilcox said.
He was out for his afternoon walk when he saw it happen.
New York State Police said the helicopter was contracted for the New York Power Authority, which was working on the power lines when it went down late Tuesday afternoon.
The pilot, Robert Hoban Jr., 56, and a passenger, Jeremy Kearns, 30, were killed.
Two others on board, Benjamin McAllister, 30, and Scott Fabia, 34, survived and have since been released from the hospital.
police and officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board used drones and cameras to investigate what happened.