Helicopter Crashes In West Windsor [PHOTOS]
A small helicopter crashed in a field near the Quakerbridge Mall off Route 1 in West Windsor killing 1 person aboard.
West Windsor Police say the small helicopter crashed into a pig farm at the corner of Quakerbridge Road and Clarksville Road, the location of the old American Cyanamidand plant just after 12noon on Saturday.
Police say there appear to be no survivors; the pilot was the only one on board and had not yet been identified. The helicopter had just began a trip from Princeton to Atlantic City according to WPVI TV.
Several eyewitness accounts on various Facebook pages including that of New Jersey 101.5′s indicate a quick and sudden fall with pieces falling off the Aerospatiale AS355 twin-engine helicopter as it plunged towards the ground. Police say the helicopter burst into flames as it hit the empty field.
Those flames claimed nearly 80% of the evidence from the crash.
West Windsor Police Lt. Robert Garofalo said “several people” reported that a flock of birds appeared to make contact with the helicopter shortly before it went down. He said authorities were still investigating the cause of the crash.
“Eyewitnesses said they saw pieces of (the helicopter) coming apart, including the main rotor of the helicopter itself,”said Garofalo. The chopper’s third rotar has yet to be recovered.
NTSB Senior Air Safety Investigator Bob Gretz said at a press conference there was a strong smell of jet fuel after the crash reports WPVI TV.
Callers into NJ101.5 say they heard a loud explosion on impact from the nearby Wegman’s parking lot.
Traffic on Route 1 according to the traffic cameras on the 511NJ.org website did not appear to be affected.
On the New Jersey 101.5 Facebook page, Terry Brightman Meade posted, “I saw it as it happened. I was in the parking lot at Nassau Park across Route 1. 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. I am still shaking.”
Witness Christine Angelucci Billings posted on the NJ101.5 Facebook page, “We were leaving Sam’s Club and my son Brandon said, “Oh my God! I just saw a helicopter crash!” I turned to look and saw a fire ball and a huge could of smoke. He said he saw the propellers fly off and saw it spiral to the ground. He’s still in shock and so am I.”
“LARGE PLUME OF BLACK SMOKE”
One witness on the PlanetPrinceton Facebook page says he saw the helicoper “flying along at a straight path about 2000 ft up and started to bank downwards. It then pitched almost straight down the rotors came flying off. 2 seconds later it crashed and there was a large plume of black smoke.”
Another witness posts on the Jersey Shore Hurricane News Facebook page that she saw the chopper “start to come apart and crash straight down” watching from the Home Goods store on Nassau Park Boulevard off Route 1.
Chris Eannucci,Bernie Wagenblast, Jersey Shore Hurricane News, Seth Callen and The Associated Press contributed to this story
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