MIDDLE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — Investigators are trying to piece together what caused a helicopter to crash near a field in South Jersey Monday morning.
The crash happened just before 11 a.m. in the 200 block of S. Boyd Street in Middle Township, New Jersey.
The helicopter crashed just a few yards away from Donald Hamer’s home.
“It sounded like someone was cutting brush with a big brush cutter,” eyewitness Donald Hamer said. “But it was really scary, the noise. It was just such a loud, loud noise.”
“I looked up I saw the helicopter make a turn and then some of the blade hit the top of the tree and some stuff flying through the air,” eyewitness Bob Noel said.
According to the Middle Township Police Department, a helicopter owned by the Cape May County Mosquito Commission crashed at the Boyd Street athletic field.
“As you can see this is a soccer field and it’s not unusual for this to be occupied by some of our student athletes,” Middle Township Police Chief Christopher Leusner said.
The Superintendent of Cape May County Department of Mosquito Control, Peter Bosak, identified the pilot as 54-year-old Dan Konecny and the passenger as mosquito inspector Ryan Ritchie.
He says the team was doing a typical Monday morning routine checking mosquito larvae out on the salt marsh. They had landed 10-12 times to do surveys and were returning for lunch when the crash occurred.
Bosak says the pilot was ascending when he heard a bang and started to lose altitude. He says he remembered seeing a soccer field and aimed to land there.
Both were taken to Cape Regional Medical Center, where they were treated and released.
Konecny was not injured, but Ritchie suffered a concussion.
There were no injuries on the ground.
Chopper 3 HD was over the scene shortly after the crash where it showed the plane on its side and resting partially against a fence. The plane landed in the back yard of a home. No houses were damaged.
Middle Township Police, along with the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office and Sheriff Department, were at the scene assisting with the crash scene.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
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