Helicopter crashes into home in Newton, two injured

Helicopter crashes into home
Published: Apr. 27, 2017 at 5:32 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2017 at 6:44 PM EDT
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NEWTON, NC (WBTV) - Two people were injured when a helicopter crashed in Newton and struck a home Thursday afternoon, officials confirm.

The crash happened in a resident's yard on Killian Avenue, just off of Sigmon Dairy Road. The roof of the home appeared to have minor damages.

Catawba County 911 reported the crash around 1:30 p.m.


Nino Gonzalez was inside the home when the helicopter hit. "I was asleep and woke up to a loud helicopter sound," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez just thought the aircraft was flying low but then his house shook. "I heard a thud," Gonzalez said. He ran outside and saw the helicopter on its side in his front yard.

Two doors down, Lakea Cromwell saw the last few seconds of the helicopter's flight from her front window. "It was just spinning around out of control," Cromwell said.

As soon as the helicopter crashed, Cromwell and others, including Gonzalez, rushed to see if they could help.

The passenger in the two-seater aircraft had already climbed out on his own. The pilot was being pulled out. That pilot was rushed to a hospital and is expected to be okay. The passenger was later taken to the hospital to be checked out.

The flight was on a utility survey mission, according to emergency officials.

"They spotted something they wanted to see and circled back," said Kevin Yoder. That's when the helicopter went down.

FAA investigators arrived at the scene later in the day and began to interview witnesses and probe over the aircraft wreckage.

Meanwhile, Cromwell says the pilot did say he tried to miss the house. Though the blades clipped the edge of the roof and put a small hole in a brick wall, it could have been much worse, said officials.

Gonzalez praised the pilot for doing what he could. "I think it was awesome," Gonzalez said.

Natacia Hogue, who also witnessed the crash, says she can't believe no one was killed. "It was a miracle," she said. "God saved the both of them."

According to the FAA, the helicopter is a Robinson R44. The FAA registry states the craft is registered to a corporation based out of Chesapeake, Virginia. The side of the helicopter is labeled "utility patrol."

Highway Patrol and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating this crash.

No one in the home was hurt.

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