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2 Utah men survive gyroplane crash in Colorado

By Pat Reavy | Posted - Jan. 7, 2015 at 6:22 p.m.

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PAYSON — "Crashed."

That was the text Norky Humphreys received Tuesday afternoon at her home in Payson from her husband, Josh Humphreys.

"You are kidding right?" Norky Humphreys replied.

But he wasn't.

Josh Humphreys was flying back to Utah from Telluride, Colorado, with veteran pilot Mike Burton in their gyroplane — a kind of helicopter, airplane combination — when it crashed in a remote area near Glade Park shortly before 5:30 p.m., according to the Mesa County Sheriff's Office.

Both Humphreys and Burton survived. Rescuers took them to a hospital in Grand Junction where they were treated for back and neck injuries not considered to be life threatening. The two were being picked up by co-workers and driven back to Utah Wednesday.

Burton, of Pleasant Grove, is a pilot with Airgyro Aviation. On Monday, he was in one of two gyroplanes that flew to Telluride to show off the new aircraft to clients. Humphreys was there to film the event for the company.

On their way home, the two aircraft stopped in Montrose, Colorado, to fuel up. Shortly after takeoff again, the Burton and Humphreys gyroplane got caught in a downdraft and didn't have the turbo chargers needed to get over the mountain, according to Troy Atwood, who was in the gyroplane ahead of them.

Rescue teams reached the crash site on snowmobiles shortly after 8:20 p.m.

Humphreys reportedly had to hike a quarter-mile away from the crash site to get cellphone reception while Burton stayed with the aircraft. Humphreys tried calling his wife before texting her.

"He told me, 'I'm OK. We're fine. But we crashed,'" she said.

But reception was lost shortly after. After Humphreys texted that he had crashed, he again lost reception.

"Baby, answer the phone please, I am freaking out," Norky Humphreys texted back.

Finally, Josh Humphreys got reception again and Norky got the word she was waiting for.

"We're fine," the text said.

"I'm feeling fine now, but it was scary," Norky Humphreys said Wednesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.

Humphreys said the crash will not deter either man from flying a gyroplane again.

Contributing: Whitney Evans


Pat Reavy


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