3 injured after helicopter crash in Jefferson County, KS - KCTV5

3 injured after helicopter crash in Jefferson County, KS

Posted: Updated:
VALLEY FALLS, KS (KCTV) -

Amazingly, everyone on board a helicopter survived when it crashed Wednesday morning in rural Jefferson County, KS.

Investigators were still out at the scene about 5 p.m. where the chopper went down just before 10 a.m. during a routine flight that took a very dangerous turn.

"People had watched the helicopter spinning in circles before it crashed," Jefferson County, KS, Sheriff Jeff Herrig said.

The Bell Ranger 206 owned by Hawkeye Aviation out of Ottawa, KS, was flying over an area of Valley Falls when it went down.

"When the helicopter was first seen, people could tell it seemed to be having some problems, and then it started spinning," Herrig said.

On board, a pilot and two Southern Star workers were making routine checks of a gas line that runs through the town. All three were taken to St. Francis Hospital in Topeka with minor injuries.

The chopper, while battered, was mainly intact when it landed on a gravel road between two heavily wooded areas. It went down not far from a woman's home.

"I just heard a bang," she said. "I didn't know ‘til a neighbor girl came up and told me it was a helicopter crash."

Federal Aviation Administration workers from Kansas City spent the afternoon combing over the crash site, trying to figure out what went wrong. The pilot reportedly complained of stomach pain before the crash, though it is still unknown whether a mechanical failure is to blame.

Remarkably, all three people on board escaped with just minor injuries. The pilot and one of the other passengers were already released from the hospital almost five hours after the wreck.

The sheriff's office said this is the third helicopter crash in Jefferson County in a year and a half.

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