An Aerospatiale AS355 helicopter, the same kind of helicopter that crashed today in New Jersey. (Photo : flickr.com)
A small helicopter crashed into a cornfield in central New Jersey on Saturday afternoon and according to officials the pilot, who was the only passenger riding in the aircraft, was killed.
The Aerospatiale AS355 twin-engine helicopter came crashing down from the sky in Mercer County at about 12:00pm. The crash occurred in a cornfield located in West Windsor, NJ near the intersection of Quakerbridge Rd. and Clarksville Rd. The identity of the man flying the helicopter has not yet been released by the police.
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"I saw it as it happened," Terry Meade, a resident of Princeton Junction, NJ posted on Facebook. "I saw the prop come apart from the helicopter and then the copter turned over and went straight down. Huge explosion and lots of black smoke."
Police officials are investigating reports from witnesses in the area that the crash occurred when the helicopter struck a flock of birds just before going down and bursting into flames upon impact. The West Windsor Police, New Jersey State Police and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are all taking part in investigations of the crash.
"Eyewitnesses say they saw pieces [of the helicopter] coming apart, including the main rotor of the helicopter itself," Lt. Robert Garofalo said during a news conference on the incident.
Just two weeks ago another pilot in New Jersey was killed after his small twin-engine plane crashed shortly after landing in the Millville Municipal Airport in Milville, NJ. The pilot, Robert E. LeCates of Swedesboro, NJ was taken to Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, PA after suffering head trauma and died at the hospital the following day.