Helicopter crash at NJ airport seriously injures pilot

June 4, 2022 GMT

FAIRFIELD, N.J. (AP) — Federal authorities are investigating the crash of a helicopter shortly after takeoff from a New Jersey airport that seriously injured the pilot.

Fairfield police said on their Facebook page that the 2015 Bell Model 407 helicopter went down just after noon Saturday on the north side of Essex County Airport near Runway 28.

Police, fire and emergency medical personnel responded and found the pilot “still in the pilot seat, partially leaning out of the cockpit” with head injuries, police said. The 33-year-old man from Marietta, Georgia, whose name wasn’t immediately released was taken to a trauma hospital.

Sheriff Armando Fontoura of the Essex County sheriff’s office told NJ Advance Media that the pilot was taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, where he was in critical condition, NJ.com reported.

“It’s a tragic thing,” Fontoura said. “But we’ll hope for the best that he pulls through.”

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Police said the aircraft is operated by Zip Aviation and was heading to pick up a private charter. A witness at the scene reported that the helicopter may have been as high as 100 to 150 feet in the air “when it began to spin and then hit the ground,” police said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.