Helicopter crashes while harvesting trees



SHERIDAN — A helicopter harvesting Christmas trees on a farm near Sheridan crashed Monday afternoon.

Witnesses on the scene reported indication of some sort of engine failure causing the pilot, later identified as Blane Hayes of Applebee Aviation, to lose control of the aircraft, according to police reports.

The helicopter spun around as it descended to the ground coming to crashing after damaging the rear tail section of the aircraft as well as the landing skids, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Hayes was uninjured in the accident and refused any medical assistance, according to police.

Medics and fire personnel from the West Valley Fire Department as well as deputies from the Polk County Sheriff's Office initially responded.

Police said the employees from Applebee Aviation who were at the scene then loaded into two vehicle and left prior to deputies from PCSO arriving on scene.

The NTSB and FAA were notified of the crash. FAA investigators responded to the scene and they are investigating the incident. At this point, the sheriff’s office is uncertain why employees of the aviation company left the scene of the accident so quickly after refusing medical assistance.

The NTSB has been in contact with Applebee Aviation and they are cooperating with the investigation.

Applebee Aviation is known as AAI according to their website. They are based out of Banks, Oregon.

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