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Small helicopter crashes at Merrill Field; 2 walk away

Suzanna Caldwell
Loren Holmes photo

Two men walked away unharmed from an Anchorage helicopter crash Tuesday evening after power in the aircraft cut out.

The men had been practicing low passes when the red Robinson 22 helicopter they were piloting at Merrill Field lost power, according to Anchorage Police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker.

John Bertilson witnessed the crash. Bertilson, who just earned his pilot's license, had been parked near the small plane runway watching the helicopter maneuver.

He said at the time of the accident, it looked as if the two pilots were practicing hovering. Things had been fine for about 20 minutes, in which Bertilson watched the helicopter rise 10 to 15 feet in the air, hover, and then come back down. On the last rise, however, the craft rose 10 feet in the air, flipped over and fell to the ground.

“The whole thing plopped down and two guys popped out,” Bertilson said. “It was all pretty elegant until that happened.”

Several fire trucks, police and an ambulance responded. The two men were seen walking about after the crash, and the on-scene ambulance left without them.

Contact Suzanna Caldwell at suzanna(at)alaskadispatch.com

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