East Wenatchee helicopter crash kills 1, pilot in serious condition

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June 13, 2012

(East Wenatchee, WA) On Tuesday, June 12th, at 3:22 PM, Douglas County deputies and emergency service agencies were dispatched to the 1100 block of S. Mary Ave. in East Wenatchee in reference to a reported helicopter crash.  The location was between Rock Island Rd. and Hwy. 28

The investigation revealed that a privately owned helicopter had been flying over an orchard at that location to blow rain water off the cherries.  The main rotor of the helicopter clipped a power line causing the helicopter to crash into the orchard.  The helicopter came to rest upside down wedged in a cherry tree.  There were two occupants who had to be extricated from the aircraft by fire department and ambulance personnel.  The power lines were approximately 40-50 feet above the tree tops.  Debris from the aircraft and power line was scattered in the orchard, street, and nearby yards.

The pilot was identified as Jeffory C. Walker, 31, of Laredo, Texas.  Walker was transported to Central Washington Hospital by ambulance.  He was then transferred to Harbor View Medical Center in Seattle.  His current condition is unknown.

The passenger was identified as Andrew D. Ridge, 28, of Lewisville, Texas.  Ridge was also transported by ambulance to Central Washington Hospital where he died from his injuries.

The helicopter was a 2005 Robinson model R44 II, registered to Reed Helicopters, LLC in Laredo, Texas.  The helicopter sustained significant damage.   There was fuel leakage but no fire.  No one outside the helicopter was injured.

The NTSB and FAA were notified and are expected at the crash site today to investigate.  Chelan County PUD personnel were also called to the scene to assess the condition of the power line.