Pilot able to walk away from helicopter crash

Posted at 12:48 PM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 23:36:01-05


A helicopter crashed into a busy neighborhood on Friday in Menominee, Michigan. Thankfully no one was seriously injured and the pilot even managed to walk away from the scene. NBC26 spoke with a neighbor who watched the crash happen and shares the details.

Just about a quarter of a mile from the scene of Friday’s crash is the Twin County Airport. But the pilot of an Enstrom helicopter who was behind the controls never made it that far and a neighborhood got to watch it all unfold.

Shortly after 11 o'clock Friday morning a noise from the sky caught the attention of the Menominne neighborhood near 18th Street and 15th Avenue. Monica Giles lives a couple blocks away from there and was on her way home from the gym.

"It kinda sounded like wood snapping. Like a big bon fire. All that crackling and popping. It kinda sounded like that," says Giles.

The noise was an experimental TH-180 Enstrom Helicopter that was going down and snapping tree tops along the way.

"Tree debris all over the street which I just passed," says Giles.

It nicked a home along the way and also managed to take out a light pole but no one was seriously injured, not even the pilot.

"If I had left the gym 30 seconds sooner I would have been hit with something," adds Giles.

And for pilots in Menominee like Joe Grinsteiner who’s been flying for 27 years, they're used to seeing Enstrom helicopters. The experimental helicopter that lost power on Friday is produced and tested here.

"They're here all the time and obviously we never seen something like this," says Grinsteiner.

But what ultimately happened in the Menominee neighborhood, that's something some in the industry chalk up to skill on the pilots end and a machine that’s built well.

"If he had any other helicopter I'd have to say he probably wouldn't be able to make a safe landing in an area like that because most helicopters don't have the control that these Enstrom’s have," adds Grinsteiner.

So while the cleanup and investigation continues, many in this neighborhood know just how lucky they and the pilot got.

Police are asking that traffic stays away from the 18th street and 15th avenue area while they continue their investigation. The Michigan State Police were in the area late this afternoon piecing the crash together. Early next week the FAA will also arrive to investigate the scene and helicopter.



Menominee police say a pilot, flying to a local airport, was able to escape a crash with non life threatening injuries.

The incident was reports just after 11 o'clock when the Enstrom Helicopter went down on 18th St. Investigators tell NBC26 the craft lost power and went down in the residential neighborhood. The crash reportedly clipped a house and took down a telephone pole. No injuries on the ground were reported.

Police are asking everyone to stay away from the area between 13th to 16th Ave. and 17th to 19th St. until the crash scene is cleared.

The FAA will arrive early next week to investigate the incident.

We will have more updates on this developing story tonight on NBC26 Live at 5:00 & 6:00.