By TAPINTO WEST ESSEX STAFF
FAIRFIELD, NJ — A pilot was transported to a nearby trauma hospital following a helicopter crash at Essex County Airport on Saturday.
According to Fairfield police, at approximately 12:04 p.m., the Police Department received multiple 9-1-1 calls reporting a helicopter crash on the property of the Essex County Airport. Police, fire and EMS were immediately dispatched to the scene.
First arriving officers found a helicopter on the ground on the north side of the airport near Runway #28. The lone pilot, a 33-year-old male from Marietta, Ga., was found in the pilot seat, partially leaning out of the cockpit. Officers observed injuries to his head. He was extricated from the helicopter and transported by the West Essex First Aid Squad to an area trauma hospital.
Preliminary investigation indicates that the helicopter, a 2015 Bell Model 407, is operated by Zip Aviation located on the airport property. Police say that the pilot apparently was taking off and heading to pick up a private charter when the crash occurred. A witness at the scene reported that the helicopter may have been as high as 100-150 feet in the air, when it began to spin, and then hit the ground.
The area around the helicopter was secured pending the arrival of the Nutley Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Team to help deal with a fuel spill and the arrival of investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Bureau. The airport remained closed to all aircraft Saturday afternoon.