NEW CASTLE, Del. (CBS)—A man has died after a medical helicopter he was piloting crashed near an airport in Delaware on Thursday.
“I heard this blurb blurb blurb and then I looked up in the sky,” said Marian Williams, who saw the helicopter nosedive. “I heard it explode and then I saw this gulf of black smoke. It was terrifying. It still is. I’m still shaking.”
Police say the helicopter crashed on North Quigley Boulevard near the Wilmington airport.
“I’m still shaken about it and I’m sad…there was a life there and it’s gone,” Williams said.
Authorities say Michael R. Murphy, 37, of Franklinville, NJ, was in the middle of a training flight when it crashed.
“The pilot, who was employed by Metro Aviation, was flying from the Atlantic City airport and was conducting training in the area near the New Castle County airport,” said Corporal Jeffrey Hale of the Delaware State Police.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our pilot and the entire PennSTAR and Metro Aviation family,” said a spokesperson with Metro Aviation. “The accident is under investigation and we have dispatched our operations, safety and maintenance leadership to the scene. We are cooperating with the investigation.”
The chopper is operated by Metro Aviation and provides services for PennSTAR, which is used to transport patients in the University of Pennsylvania Health System — though none were on-board.
“Nobody on the ground was injured,” said Hale.Delaware State Police say the impact of the crash sparked a fire, which spread to an empty building nearby but only caused minor damage.
The NTSB is en route and expected to arrive later tonight.
It’s unclear at this time what caused the crash.