OCEAN CITY, N.J. (CBS) – A helicopter crashed into the marsh next to the Ocean City Municipal Airport in New Jersey on Friday morning. Despite the scary sight, the flight instructor and the pilot-in-training were able to walk away from the wreckage.
Authorities say a student pilot and an instructor were aboard the helicopter when they were forced to make a hard landing, around 9:30 a.m. The helicopter was located on the west side of the airport tarmac in marshland, near 28th Street.
“Thank heaven the pilot was able to get it down without too much injury,” said resident Nancy Hillman.
The owner, 62-year-old Harvey Shubart, of Ocean City, is an instructor, and was teaching 64-year-old Carol Gray, of Bear, Delaware, how to hover when the aircraft lost control and came down hard, ultimately landing on its side.
Both people were able to walk away and were taken to Shore Memorial Hospital for minor injuries.
Jonathan Aiken, who lives right next to the airport, saw the moments before the chopper came down.
“This morning, it was not unusual what I saw until I saw the chopper begin to whip around quickly in a counter-clockwise motion, maybe about 10 feet off the marsh grass, and I thought that was a little unusually because it was a little fast,” said Aiken.
Federal aviation officials are investigating the crash and what caused the pilot to lose control.
“The trainer did a very good job in landing that helicopter softly on the marsh there because had he come this way we probably would have been looking at a much different scene because of the houses,” said resident Susan Cholet.
The airport was closed from 9:30 a.m. until noon as officials made sure the runway was safe for takeoff and landings.