South Brunswick, New Jersey, witnessed a tragic event yesterday when a helicopter met its untimely descent into a canal near Lake Carnegie and Old Lincoln Highway. The crash, occurring around 3:45 p.m., took the life of its pilot.
The single-engine Robinson R22 Robinson helicopter, designed for only one occupant, had taken off from the Princeton Airport just a mere four minutes before the incident, as per the account by ABC News. This airport is approximately three miles away from where the accident transpired.
It wasn’t long into the flight that a Kingston fire station captain noticed the aircraft’s erratic movement in the sky. Without wasting any time, he promptly informed the dispatchers of the worrying situation. Two additional witnesses confirmed the captain’s observations, recounting how they saw the helicopter dramatically veer and subsequently disappear beneath the tree line.
Immediate Response and Aftermath
The challenges of the heavily forested area didn’t deter the first responders, who reached the crash site in a commendable five minutes. To their dismay, they discovered the helicopter capsized in the water, with the FAA confirming the extent of the damage as “completely crushed.”
In a valiant rescue attempt, both an officer and a firefighter entered the waters, managing to hoist the helicopter and retrieve the pilot. Despite their best efforts, the pilot, who remains unidentified, had sustained grievous injuries and could not be resuscitated.
“Upon arrival, they found the helicopter face down in the water,” mentioned one of the responders on the scene.
Though the accident had the potential for further collateral damage, it was fortunate that there were no injuries on the ground. Additionally, the surrounding greenery remained unscathed. Approximately three dozen emergency personnel were at the site, along with the owner of the helicopter company.
The intended destination of the helicopter before its abrupt descent remains unknown.
Prior Incidents: A Pattern of Accidents?
While the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) dive deep into this investigation, it’s worth noting that New Jersey and nearby areas have seen similar aviation accidents in the recent past.
A year prior, a pilot and his passenger met a tragic end when their plane crashed in a residential zone of Upper Deerfield Township, Cumberland County, New Jersey. Another incident in October of the previous year involved an experienced pilot in East Hampton Town, Long Island, New York, who lost his life minutes after his plane took off. Moreover, in May, a plane crash in Orleans County, NY, claimed the lives of two individuals, one of whom was a Rochester obstetrician and gynecologist, under scrutiny for fraud and malpractice allegations from 2021.