New Jersey

Witness Says Helicopter Spun Above NJ Airport Before Crash-Landing

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A helicopter crash-landed at an airport in New Jersey early Saturday afternoon, injuring the pilot operating the aircraft, police officials said.

Police and FAA officials said the helicopter came down at Essex County Airport shortly after 12 p.m. The aircraft, a 2015 Bell Model 407, landed near runway 28 on the north side of the airport.

First responders found the 33-year-old pilot from Georgia slumped over in the pilot seat, "partially leaning out of the cockpit," a news release from Fairfield Police said. He was transported to a local hospital to be treated for head injuries.

A preliminary investigation conducted in the first hours after the crash found the pilot had departed from the airport bound to collect a private charter before the incident. Police said a witness saw the helicopter spin in the air before hitting the ground.

No one else was on board the helicopter when it landed.

A joint investigation was being conducted by local fire and police departments, as well as the FAA. The Nutley Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Team was dispatched to help contain a fuel spill on site.

Officials temporarily closed the airport in the aftermath of the crash.

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