Yorkshire Dales helicopter crash: Three people may have been on board chopper as it crashed into field
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Ben Slinger, 35, the manager of a local fabrications business said locals were told there was a pilot and at least one passenger onboard the helicopter before it crashed into the field in Burton in Lonsdale, North Yorkshire.
He said he’d spoken to other locals at the scene who believed police and fire crews were searching for an individual who may have 'bailed out' before the helicopter went down.
He said: “The helicopter was on fire. We heard that the pilot was alive, but one or two other people were missing and may have bailed out of the helicopter before it crashed.
“I think police helicopters were searching for somebody.
“We went for a look as it’s only round the corner and somebody said that. The fire crew were searching up and down the fields, and there was a police helicopter with a thermal imaging camera.
“It certainly looked like they were looking for somebody. We could see the fire brigade searching the fields."
Ben said his attention was only drawn to the crash when an air ambulance arrived on scene after mid-day.
He said: “I didn’t hear anything. The first I heard was the ambulance. I then had a look round to see what was happening.
“We don’t get many helicopters landing round us. I sort of know the person who farms the field. My first concern was something happening to him.
“Then I found out it was a helicopter crash, which was a shock."
Locals from the nearby Rivers Edge Holiday Home & Lodge Park caravan site, in Ingleton, North Yorkshire, said they were left in “shock” following the crash earlier in the day.
One of the site's staff members confirmed that people from the site had “assisted” with the incident but wouldn’t give any further details.
She said: “There was a crash. People from the site went over and assisted. The manager is a bit in shock.”
A spokesperson for Yorkshire Ambulance Service confirmed the air ambulance was dispatched to the scene but would not confirm the number of casualties.
A team from the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has also been sent to the site.
A spokesperson for the government body, which looks into civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents, said their investigators would begin “making enquiries”.
They said: “The AAIB has been notified of an accident in Burton in Lonsdale, North Yorkshire involving a light helicopter.
“An investigation has been launched and a team of inspectors are travelling to the accident site to begin making enquiries.