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UPDATED: Officials: Pilot killed, 2 others on board injured after Duke Energy helicopter crashes in Eden
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UPDATED: Officials: Pilot killed, 2 others on board injured after Duke Energy helicopter crashes in Eden

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Duke Energy helicopter crash (copy)

Emergency personnel are on the scene of a Duke Energy helicopter crash (top left of photo), Wednesday, April 28, 2021, near the Dan River Steam Station in Eden, N.C. Rockingham County EMS director Rodney Cates said that two people were transported to the hospital, one by ground and one by air.

Updated 8:49 p.m.

EDEN — Officials said Wednesday night that the pilot was killed and two passengers were injured when a Duke Energy helicopter crashed earlier in the day in a wooded area.

There's no word yet on what may have caused the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

Helicopter crash

Emergency crews set up a staging area at the end of Rosewood Lane in Eden near a wooded area where a helicopter crashed Wednesday afternoon.


Updated: 6:06 p.m.

EDEN — Officials said there were no records of any distress calls to local agencies from the pilot of a Duke Energy Bell 429 helicopter that crashed Wednesday afternoon, leaving at least three people from the aircraft injured.

Officials did not have the names of two men who were rescued after the crash. And they weren't sure if there might be other victims still at the crash site because the aircraft was “an active fire scene,’’ Rodney Cates, director of Rockingham County Emergency Services, said at a press conference around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Helicopter crash

Emergency crews set up a staging area at the end of Rosewood Lane in Eden near a wooded area where a helicopter crashed Wednesday afternoon.

Cates said the helicopter crashed around 1:30 p.m. with a “heavy” fuel load in a wooded area near Rosewood Lane, a residential area near Freedom Park, and was still burning, creating hot spots and making the site difficult for emergency workers to examine closely. He said the aircraft was on the ground resting on the passenger’s side.

Helicopter crash

Emergency crews set up a staging area at the end of Rosewood Lane in Eden near a wooded area where a helicopter crashed Wednesday afternoon.

By early evening, officials with the Federal Aviation Administration told WGHP-Channel 8 that three people were aboard the chopper that’s listed by Bell Aviation as weighing around 4,700 pounds. The men were doing routine power line inspection work at the time of the crash, said Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks, who could not confirm whether there was a third passenger.

Duke Energy helicopter crash (copy)

A Duke Energy helicopter crashed, Wednesday, April 28, 2021, near the Dan River Steam Station in Eden, N.C. Rockingham County EMS director Rodney Cates said that two people were transported to the hospital, one by ground and one by air.

The two recovered victims were conscious when emergency personnel arrived at the crash site, Cates said. One of the men is being treated at UNC Rockingham Health Care here, while the other was transported around 2:45 p.m. by helicopter to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

Firefighters sprayed a fire-blocking foam border around the crash perimeter to protect surrounding forest area, Cates said. The crash took place along the wood line of property near the Dan River Combined Cycle Station, Cates said.

While plenty of residents living in the area heard the helicopter flying low just before the crash, no homes were affected and there were no power outages, Cates said.

“I heard it go over my house and it was shaking my house it was so low,” Joe Scott of Eden said.

Shelly Horton of Eden also saw the helicopter flying low before the wreck.

“But it never occurred to me that it might be in trouble,” Horton said.

This is a developing story. Check back at rockinghamnow.com and greensboro.com for updates.


Update 4:35 p.m.

EDEN — Officials said there were no records of any distress calls to local agencies from the pilot of a Duke Energy helicopter that crashed Wednesday afternoon, leaving at least two people from the aircraft injured.

Officials did not have the names of the two who were injured and weren't sure if there might be any other victims because there are still a lot of hotspots around the site where the Bell 429 helicopter crashed and caught fire.

Firefighters had sprayed a foam-blocking foam border around the crash perimeter to protect surrounding forest area, Rodney Cates, director of Rockingham County  Emergency Services, said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

He said the helicopter crashed about 1:30 p.m. in a wooded lot near Rosewood Lane, which is a residential area.

No homes were affected by the crash and there were no power outages, Cates said.

He said they did not have information on where the helicopter had come from or where it was headed. Earlier in the day, Duke Energy confirmed the helicopter was one of the utility's, but officials did not release any details such as the number of people in the aircraft or its destination. The helicopter crashed near the Dan River Combined Cycle Station.

The two males pulled from the helicopter, which was on the ground resting on its passenger side, were "both were conscious and communicative," Cates said. He said one was taken to a local hospital, presumably UNC Rockingham Health Care, and the other was taken by medical helicopter to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

The Bell 429, which is described as a light, twin-engine helicopter, can seat up to seven people and a pilot, according to the manufacturer's specifications.


Update 3:46 p.m.

EDEN — Duke Energy says one of its helicopters crashed this afternoon, but the utility does not have any more information on the situation.

Duke Energy statement: "Shortly after 1 p.m. today, we received word of an incident near the Dan River Combined Cycle Station involving a Duke Energy helicopter. We are currently investigating the incident and are working with local emergency management officials. We will provide additional information as appropriate."

Officials on the scene told RockinghamNow and the News & Record that at least two people were injured in the crash.

This is a breaking news. Check back at rockinghamnow.com and greensboro.com for updates.


Update 3:35 p.m.

EDEN — The Federal Aviation Administration has been called in to investigate a helicopter crash off Rosewood Lane.

The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office said in a news release the FAA has been requested to respond to the site. The sheriff's office said it began getting reports about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday of a crash. The sheriff's office, Eden police, state troopers and various emergency response crews from across the county are at the site of the crash.

Check back at rockinghamnow.com and greensboro.com for updates.


EDEN — Emergency crews responded Wednesday afternoon to a helicopter crash in Eden.

Triad TV stations reported the helicopter crashed near the Duke Energy plant at the intersection of South Edgewood Road and Rosewood Lane. The crash site appears to be in a wooded area past the houses that line Rosewood Lane.

It wasn't clear what caused the helicopter to crash or what kind of helicopter it is. UNC Rockingham Health Care, which has a helipad, is nearby. Witnesses described the helicopter as blue and white.

Investigators told WFMY-Channel 2 that there were injuries reported, but gave no other details.

“I heard it go over my house and it was shaking my house it was so low,” Joe Scott of Eden said.

Shelly Horton also saw the helicopter flying low before the wreck.

“But it never occurred to me that it might be in trouble,” Horton said.

Check back at rockinghamnow.com and greensboro.com for updates.

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