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Chopper Crashes Into Utah Lake

Chopper Crashes Into Utah Lake

Posted - Dec. 15, 2004 at 3:35 p.m.



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Sandra Yi ReportingIt was a close call for a student pilot and his instructor when their helicopter crashed in Utah Lake. Amazingly, the two men inside walked away with only minor injures.

Chopper Crashes Into Utah Lake

A morning flying lesson took a dangerous turn on Utah Lake.

Sgt. Tom Hodges, Utah County Sheriff's Office: "They're a little bit shaken, but in good spirits otherwise. Obviously they had a very traumatic experience this morning."

21-year old Cayce Batterson and his instructor 37-year old Paul Attridge were practicing take-offs and landings on Sandy Beach. They were in an R-22 helicopter. The men reportedly ran into trouble on the last take-off. The instructor tried to regain control.

Sgt. Tom Hodges: "He reports he lost lift in the blades, and that caused them to go down. He pulled up and one of the skids actually touched the water, which flipped them forward. They did a complete somersault forward and then crashed."

Chopper Crashes Into Utah Lake

The chopper crashed in four feet of water. The two were able to walk to shore and get help from a fisherman. Authorities say luck was on their side.

Sgt. Tom Hodges: "I don't know their air speed at the time of the crash, but anytime you crash a helicopter, especially into a lake, I think you should consider yourself lucky to walk away from that anytime."

The chopper belongs to Universal Helicopters, a training and flight school based in Provo. The chopper will likely stay in the water overnight as authorities are waiting for the FAA and the NTSB to look at the crash site.

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