Chopper pilot who crashed was too close to power lines, Union County deputies say

North Carolina

UNION COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Some are calling it a miracle. A pilot was able to walk away from a helicopter crash in Waxhaw over the weekend.

Just before 12 p.m. Sunday, the pilot crashed a helicopter along Roscoe Howey Road. The pilot was crop dusting a cornfield when he flew into power lines.

“He did make a comment to one of our deputies that he got too low and hit the power lines,” Union County Chief Deputy Tony Underwood said.

FOX 46 got an up-close look at the plane. The thin, green wires were tangled around the R66 turbine.

The pilot was spraying a fertilizer over the corn field when he crashed.

“When you see three of these events in Union County since October of 2019, the first two being fatal, it does raise a red flag,” Underwood said.

This is the third time in just a few years that a crop-dusting helicopter has crashed in Union County after hitting some power lines. It’s the second time it’s happened in just a few months. Thankfully, in this circumstance, the pilot was able to walk away unharmed.

In 2019, Andrew Stephenson, 54, of Florida died when he flew his helicopter into a power line.

And as recently as this May, a pilot died near Wingate performing the same task.

According to the NTSB accident report, witnesses were surprised to see aerial dusting because there were multiple power lines over the field.

Some in the crop-dusting business tell FOX 46 crop dusters typically only perform the task for five or so years because it’s so dangerous.

The NTSB and FAA are investigating this latest crash.

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