SARDIS, Ga. (WJBF) — A helicopter went down Tuesday afternoon near Sardis. The crash was deep in the woods off of Benjamin Road, in southeastern Burke County.
Investigators say the pilot was the only person aboard the helicopter and he got out with minor injuries.
Lieutenant Randall Norman with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office told NewsChannel 6 reporter Devin Johnson the pilot was the only person aboard the helicopter. He was taken to the hospital, and deputies say his injuries were minor.
“We were met by the property owner just a couple miles down this driveway here,” explained Norman. “He allowed us access to the property, and we came to the area to make contact with the accident location.”
One property owner told Devin the helicopter was flying around her house around 11:30 am. But she says the aircraft did not sound normal.
“Well, the helicopter was flying low, explained Patricia Bargeron. “I mean it was not above my treetop. So it was flying low, and we have aircraft flying through here all of the time, so I know what aircraft sounds like.”
An official with the sheriff’s office says the pilot is Gary Rowland, a chemical contractor from Kite Georgia.
“He was spraying chemicals to kill the shrub oats,” said Bargeron. “Because they planted pines back there and you have to spray to make sure the pines have a chance to grow.”
Bargeron says when she heard the news, all she could think about was —
“That he was alive please God,” expressed Bargeron. “I didn’t want anything bad to happen to anybody.”
Lieutenant Norman says there is a lot of aircraft that take off from rural airports. And Fall is the season when more agricultural aircraft will be spraying crops.
“It’s not an everyday occurrence that you see,” explained Norman. “But realizing that we do have an airport here in Burke County and the Augusta area, the chance for it to happen is there.”
Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration will be at the scene tomorrow around 9 am. They’ll start their investigation then. Count on NewsChannel 6 as this story develops.
Photojournalist: Will Baker
Burke County, GA (WJBF): Crews respond to a helicopter crash in Burke County
The Burke County Sheriff’s Office along with the Burke County EMA are on the scene of the chopper crash on Benjamin Road in Sardis.
Only the pilot was on board at the time of the crash, and according to a Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, he suffered minor injuries.
NewsChannel 6 has a crew on the way, and we will bring you more information as this story develops.