MERRITT ISLAND, Florida - Three men escaped serious injury as the helicopter they were riding in made a crash landing at the Merritt Island Airport this evening. At 6:10 p.m., Brevard County Fire Rescue crews were dispatched to the south side of the airport for a reported "helicopter down."
On arrival, fire crews reported that the pilot and his two passengers had safely exited the 1953 Hiller UH-12B helicopter they were riding in. According to the pilot, the helicopter had just taken off when it suddenly lost power approximately 75 feet above the ground. The helicopter remained largely intact after a hard landing but did lose its tail rotor in the crash. Further investigation of the damage revealed a small oil leak which was quickly stopped by firefighters.
A passenger, described as a man in his 60's, was taken to a nearby hospital for further evaluation. The pilot and a second passenger were not seriously injured and refused transport by rescuers. The scene was turned over to airport authorities.