As a result of a helicopter crash in American Fork Canyon, two occupants were injured but it appears that they will both recover.
At approximately 08:20 hours, on 07/08/13, the Utah Valley Dispatch Center received a 911 phone call from a disabled Cricket cell phone. The caller reported that he and another passenger had crashed in a Robinson R-22 helicopter in American Fork Canyon, North West of Silver Lake.
The plane is believed to have left from the Heber airport and intended on landing at the Salt Lake Airport. However, the pilot reported, during the 911 call, that they were flying near the ground when a wind gust or current appeared to suck the helicopter toward the ground. As a result, the aircraft crashed and rolled. Rescue personnel documented the elevation of the crash at 9,880 feet.
The pilot, identified as Gregory Walther of West Valley, Utah and the passenger, identified as Terrance (Bud) Oakley of Sandy, Utah were participating in a training flight through the Upper Limit Aviation school.
Mr. Walther sustained a compound fracture of his wrist and complained of back pain and Mr. Oakley sustained a head injury and complained of pain in his ribcage and legs. AirMed and Life Flight responded to transport both men to local hospitals, Intermountain Medical Center and University of Utah Medical Center. Because of the extreme terrain, rescue personnel had to be airlifted into the area, within 1/4 miles of the crash site.
The NTSB has been notified of the incident and will review all available information in order to determine what factors contributed to the crash. As photographs become available, the Utah County Sheriff's Office will post them in relation to this media release.
In response to this incident, a fixed wing aircraft, several Search and Rescue personnel and mounted posse volunteers with the Utah County Sheriff's Office participated in the rescue and recovery of the victims and associated equipment. We are grateful for the positive relationships we share with our local and state law enforcement and rescue personnel and would like to publicly thank the Utah Department of Public Safety, Lone Peak Fire and the Forest Service for their assistance in relation to this incident.
Reported by Lt. Yvette M. Rice, Public Information Officer for the Utah County Sheriff's Office (office) 801-851-4331 (cell) 801-420-3745