by: Nancy Cook
MARIETTA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – At least three men were uninjured when the helicopter they were riding in clipped a powerline, damaging its main rotor and forcing a hard landing on Highway 77 about a mile east of Marietta, Texas.
When the R44 Rotorcraft clipped the powerline, it went on to shave the top of the electrical pole across the street, which in turn caused power to go out in the area.
According to Flight Aware live flight tracking, the helicopter left Texarkana at 10:16 Saturday morning and listed its destination as “near Atlanta Texas” on its flight plan. The flight plan, which ordinarily lists an arrival time, instead lists “result unknown.”
The men told Marietta resident Jeffrey Taylor who was at the scene within minutes that they flew over from Texarkana to attend Saturday church services at Marietta-New Hope, a Seventh Day Adventist Church in Marietta.
Taylor, who lives nearby, said as soon as the power went out, he decided to go to the laundromat to do his laundry and came onto the scene. He saw a group of people trying to move the aircraft off the highway, but said there were emergency vehicles or law enforcement at the scene.
When informed of the crash, KTAL called the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, who said they knew nothing about a helicopter crash, but Bowie-Cass Electric Cooperative responded and told residents they hoped to restore power sometime Saturday afternoon.
A pickup truck with a trailer showed up later in the afternoon and loaded the helicopter to be taken to an undisclosed place for repairs.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Registry, the Rotorcraft helicopter was manufactured by the Robinson Helicopter Co. in 2019. Its registered owner is to a company called N371MP Inc. out of Middletown, Delaware.