Man injured in Orchard Lake helicopter crash

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published September 5, 2018

 Rescue personnel work to free a pilot from a crashed helicopter in an Orchard Lake field.

Rescue personnel work to free a pilot from a crashed helicopter in an Orchard Lake field.

Photo provided by the West Bloomfield Fire Department

An 87-year-old Orchard Lake man was injured after his helicopter spun out of control during takeoff Sept. 3 in an open field he owns in the 5600 block of  Pontiac Trail.

The man was transported to Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills.

Orchard Lake Police Chief Joe George said that the Police Department received the call at 2:43 p.m. that day.

“And as our officers responded they could see a helicopter turn on its side there,” George said, adding that the helicopter was “not real high up, fortunately, but it came down on its side, and for a brief moment there were flames shooting out of it, but that subsided.”

George said local first responders were able to push the helicopter up far enough onto its side “where they were able to get the gentlemen.”

“As far as we know at this time he is doing OK,” George said, adding that he does not know the full extent of the man’s injuries, but the pilot was “conscious and alert.”

The Federal Aviation Administration was also on the scene to investigate the crash, George said.

“They will be handling more of the investigation to try to determine exactly what happened,” he said.

The West Bloomfield Fire Department posted on its Facebook page details of the crash and how crews from two West Bloomfield fire stations and the Orchard Lake Police Department had responded to the crash.

West Bloomfield Fire Marshal Byron Turnquist said that the Fire Department put out a small fire on the helicopter, and everyone on the scene worked well together.

“When stuff like this happens it is nice to know different agencies … work well together,” he said. Due to the nature of crash, the Fire Department wanted to be careful and efficient during the rescue, he said.

“And do it as quickly and safely as possible as to avoid making any injury worse.”

Orchard Lake Sgt. Tony Banks said that pilot of the four-person helicopter suffered a brain bleed and three broken ribs, as well as some vertebrae damage.

“A couple of them were compressed,” he said of what he had heard over dispatch.

Banks added that the OLPD secured the scene and put the helicopter in police storage.

“The Fire Department helped and loaded it on a flatbed wrecker and loaded it to the police station.”

Call Staff Writer Sherri Kolade at (586) 498-1046.