By News-Register staff • 

Pilot uninjured in Willamina-area helicopter crash

Photo courtesy Polk County Sheriff s Office##The pilot of this helicopter that crashed Monday afternoon south of Willamina was uninjured.
Photo courtesy Polk County Sheriff's Office##The pilot of this helicopter that crashed Monday afternoon south of Willamina was uninjured.

 WILLAMINA - A helicopter harvesting Christmas trees crashed Monday afternoon south of Willamina in the 21000 block of Highway 22. The pilot was not injured.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office gave this account:

About 2:30 p.m., witnesses reported the helicopter experienced an engine failure, forcing pilot Blane Hayes of Applebee Aviation of Banks to lose control of the aircraft.

It spun around as it descended to the ground, coming to rest after damaging the rear tail section, as well as the landing skids.

West Valley Fire District personnel arrived, and Hays indicated he was uninjured and refused medical treatment. Other Applebee Aviation employees who were on scene loaded the damaged helicopter into two vehicles and left prior to deputies arriving. It's unknown why the pilot and co-workers did not wait to speak with deputies.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration were notified. FAA investigators responded. NTSB investigators have been in contact with Applebee Aviation, and the company is cooperating with them.

Applebee Aviation is based out of its own private airport, about 35 miles west of Portland, according to its website.

 

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