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One injured in Colchester Causeway helicopter crash

The Colchester Causeway is back open after a helicopter crashed into it Friday afternoon.
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 5:32 PM EDT
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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - The Colchester Causeway is back open after a helicopter crashed into it Friday afternoon. The pilot, who was the only one on board, was able to climb out of the fiery wreckage.

Bikers were stranded on opposite ends of the causeway, the air smelled like gasoline, and crews were on scene trying to piece together what happened. Three hours after the helicopter crashed into the Colchester Causeway, the wreckage was hauled away on a trailer, but the investigation continues. “There’s fragments of it spread in the area, so it looks like it broke apart,” said Colchester Assistant Fire Chief Seth Lasker.

Photos from witnesses show the moments the plane burst into flames. Officials on scene said it appears mechanical issues are to blame.

“The NTSB is interested in this and has been consulted,” Lasker said. “We’re waiting for word on them as to how we’re going to proceed further.”

Lasker said the aircraft was on fire when they arrived. The pilot, 31 year-old Nathaniel Fortin, was walking toward them. Lasker says Fortin suffered minor to moderate injuries and was transported to UVM Medical Center.

The helicopter was owned by BETA technologies. In a statement, they said the aircraft was a conventional gas-powered helicopter. According to them, Fortin is a certified flight instructor. They say this was a ‘precautionary emergency landing.’

“I don’t know what the circumstances of the helicopter were but he’s alive, so I’d have to say he did pretty well,” Lasker said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

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