Private Helicopter Crashes in Cheat River

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By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate

At approximately 11:40 a.m. Saturday morning, 911 received a call regarding a helicopter crash near Licking Creek Bottom off of Route 72. A small, private helicopter accompanied by three individuals was hovering low over the river when they ran into a low hanging telephone line resulting in their plummet into the Cheat River, where the water was approximately four to five feet deep. Though there are no known eye witnesses, a nearby camper claims to have heard the incident. Trooper C.R. Donelson stated the victims departed on their flight from Garrett County, Md. and are believed to be residents of the Eglon area.

Parsons Volunteer Fire Department Company 10 Chief and Tucker County Office of Emergency Management Director Kevin White stated when rescue squads arrived on scene, one occupant was sitting on shore with the remaining two in the water, one supporting the others injuries. Fortunately, emergency response personnel arrived on scene quickly to assess the situation. First responders immediately deployed a water rescue strategy to secure the two victims in the water and escort them to shore to seek medical attention. Two individuals were transported via life flight while the other was escorted by EMS to seek medical treatment. White said, “The extent of their injuries is unknown.”

The sunshine and warm temperatures made for an invitation for river enthusiasts Saturday, resulting in a busier waterway. It was vital to preserve the scene of the accident, therefore any river goers that began to approach were asked to steer clear of the helicopter, as well for their own safety.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), located in Charleston, was contacted to report the incident. An FAA agent arrived at the site of the accident to conduct their own investigation later that evening. In addition, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was contacted to inform them of the potential of fuel being leaked into the river and other possible environmental hazards from the down chopper. Once the scene was evaluated by the FAA, the helicopter was pulled piece by piece to land where pieces of the wire were allegedly entangles around the propeller.