A helicopter pilot considered himself lucky Saturday afternoon, able to walk away from the wreckage of his crashed aircraft after clipping power lines while spraying a field near Laton in rural Fresno County.

Mark Trinkle of Kingsburg said he was flying a Bell 206 JetRanger, built as an agriculture sprayer, when it went down just before 2 p.m. near South Clovis and East Blanchard avenues, just north of downtown Laton.

Trinkle was applying herbicide and making his last pass on the farm, which the pilot said is in a tricky area because of the multiple power lines that run across it. He said he went underneath one set, but hit another.

He “clipped it and it threw me into these ones,” he said, “which then brought the helicopter down.”

“I got out and made sure the power was off and fuel and everything was off. Just crawled right out. Lucky to be alive.”

No one else was onboard. He praised the helicopter’s design for helping him avoid injury, other than a scratch on the right cheek and back of his hand.

An ambulance crew checked him out to make sure he was fine.

“The helicopter itself is very reliable and safe,” Trinkle said, noting he also was wearing a harness and helmet. “As you can see, the cockpit is totally torn up and I’m fine.”

A pilot for 16 years and a crop-duster since 2009, it was his first helicopter crash. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, a crew member on a P-3 Orion. The crash and survival training he received in the service helps remind him of the dangers.

Trinkle walked to where his trailer was parked, then return to pick up the debris. He had help from family and friends who loaded the wreckage. The rotor blade was in the field.

A passerby reported the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration andNational Transportation Safety Board will investigate, Fresno County Sheriff’s Lt. Robert Salazar said.

PG&E spokesman J.D. Guidi said one pole was broken and, along with damage to the electrical lines, power was knocked out for 56 customers.

Those affected included 48 customers in Laton, six in Selma and two in Hanford. Estimated restoration was 2 a.m. Sunday, Guidi said.