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Pilot in guarded condition after helicopter crash Tuesday in Gaines

Photo by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Chief Deputy Michael Mele, left, and others check the crash site on Tuesday afternoon on Gaines-Waterport Road.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 April 2018 at 1:11 pm

Alan Heard, 64, was pulled from the wreckage by a passing motorist

Press Release, Orleans County Undersheriff Chris Bourke

GAINES – The Orleans County Sheriff’s office and the Federal Aviation Administration are continuing the investigation into the aviation accident that occurred in the Town of Gaines near the Gaines Valley Airport.

FAA investigators were on scene Tuesday afternoon examining the scene where a small a “Mosquito XE model” helicopter crashed into a field several hundred yards west of the Gaines Valley Airport. The pilot, identified as Alan Heard, 64, of Waterport, survived the crash and was rescued from the wreckage by Mark Bennett of Waterport.

Bennett was driving by and observed the helicopter preparing to take off so he stopped to watch. After lifting off to an altitude of approximately 100 to 200 feet, the pilot reportedly began experiencing mechanical problems. A popping and grinding sound was heard by witnesses as the helicopter travelled in a westerly direction over the Gaines-Waterport Road. At this point the aircraft was on fire and the pilot performed a hard landing on the skids in a field.

Mr. Bennett climbed over an electric fence and ran to the crash site. Mr. Bennett assisted the pilot in getting out of the aircraft and away from the wreckage which was now engulfed in flames. Mr. Heard was also on fire and Mr. Bennett was able to roll the victim and cut his shirt off with a knife to extinguish the flames.

Mr. Heard was transported to Strong Hospital in Rochester by COVA Ambulance where he remains in the I.C.U. in guarded condition. The Albion Fire Department and Carlton Fire Company also assisted at the scene.

FAA investigators secured parts of the aircraft along with a “Go-Pro” camera for analysis as they attempt to determine the cause of the crash.

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