Two people are confirmed dead after a helicopter crash in Lino Lakes on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 6, officials say.
The crash happened about 5:30 p.m. in a field at the southeast corner of Sunset Avenue and Main Street, said Cmdr. Paul Sommer, a spokesman for the Anoka County sheriff’s office.
“It landed in an open field, but we’re very close to dense residential neighborhoods near here,” Sommer told reporters Thursday night. We’re “fortunate it landed where it did,” he added.
Witnesses reported hearing a loud pop or a bang before the helicopter fell from the sky, Sommer said. Some witnesses reported that the helicopter broke up in midair, while others said it fell to the ground after the rotor stopped turning.
Sommer said the wreckage is too badly fragmented and charred to immediately determine what type of helicopter it was.
The sheriff’s office is asking residents of the area to notify authorities if they find any metal or other objects that could be crash debris. Call the Lino Lakes Police Department at 763-427-1212. The debris should not be picked up or moved.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, an FAA spokesperson said.
According to aviation conditions at the nearby Anoka County-Blaine Airport, the sky was overcast at the time of the crash, with a 10,000-foot ceiling and a visibility of 10 miles. Winds were from the north at about 7 mph.
The helicopter crash was the second in Minnesota in the past three weeks.
On Sept. 17, a North Memorial Health Care helicopter crashed in Alexandria while en route to transfer a patient from the community’s hospital.
The pilot, a nurse and a paramedic were injured. The paramedic remained in critical condition earlier this week at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. No patients were on board.
The NTSB this week said its initial investigation found that weather likely played a major role in the crash.
Clouds were forming below the helicopter before it crashed about 2 a.m. in a wooded area near the Alexandria airport.
The pilot intended to divert to the airport to land there using his instruments instead of landing at the hospital.
Mara H. Gottfried and Frederick Melo contributed to this report, which includes information from the Forum News Service. The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.