VALLEY FALLS, Kan. — A helicopter crashed in rural Jefferson County, Kansas, on Wednesday morning and after seeing the crash pictures, many are amazed that the three men on board escaped serious injury.
A malfunctioning rotor tail may be to blame for the 9:45 a.m. crash north of Topeka in an old railroad bed just east of Valley Falls. Valley Falls is located approximately three miles north of Perry Lake and about 29 miles northeast of Topeka.
The pilot and his two passengers were able to crawl out before the medics arrived and were transported to an area hospital with minor injuries. They were conducting an aerial survey of pipelines for a gas company when the pilot lost control.
Teachers Angie Tillery and Angie Seymour were with their students and saw the helicopter going down and feared the worst.
“You could see it just right above the trees and it started to spin and so then we pretty much looked at each other and we said, ‘That doesn’t look right,’ so we got the kids in line quickly and got them into the school because we didn’t know what was going on,” the teachers said.
The men were wearing seatbelts inside the chopper, which authorities believe made a difference in the outcome.
“I’m really shocked there wasn’t more injury probably good thing there wasn’t any fire or explosion,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Herrig. “It’s a good day for three gentlemen.”