Helicopter used to dry cherries crashes and burns, pilot killed

Jul 25, 2011

WENATCHEE, Wash. — Chelan County sheriff's officers say a helicopter flying low to dry cherries in a northcentral Washington orchard hit power lines, crashed and burned, killing the pilot.

Lt. Maria Agnew says the pilot is believed to be a 24-year-old man but he was not immediately identified pending notification of relatives. Detective Sgt. Jerry Moore says the pilot was flying for a Brewster, Wash., company called Golden Wings.

The helicopter crashed Monday afternoon between Chelan and Manson. Moore says a witness reports the aircraft had just flown over a block of cherry trees and was turning to fly back when it hit power lines 40-50 feet above the ground. Helicopters hover low to dry the moisture off the cherries, which can split after hard rains in warm weather.

The pilot was alone in the aircraft.