911 calls for help after SkyEye crash

October 16, 2008 4:31:16 AM PDT
We are now hearing the 911 calls for help from people who saw our SkyEye HD helicopter crash on Monday, killing pilot John Downhower and reporter/photographer Dave Garrett. Moments after the chopper plunged into a wooden area in Montgomery County, Harold Robinson was the first on the phone.

"I immediately dialed 911," he said.

The crash occurred just yards from his home and he intended to get help as soon as he could.

911 Dispatcher: "911 what's the location of your emergency?"

Caller: "Well, the helicopter...a helicopter just fell right here by my house. It fell right here about 200 yards from my house. It exploded."

While on the phone, Robinson said he knew he needed to be urgent, not knowing how many people could have been involved.

Dispatcher: "Do you see the fire?"

Caller: "Well I can't see any fire all I see is smoke coming up from it. It exploded."

Dispatcher: "Okay, you heard the explosion?"

Caller: "Did you hear that? It just done it again."

Dispatcher: "Do not get near the crash. Do not go..."

Caller: "(inaudible) I just called somebody to come out here and look about it."

"I was trying to convince her that I knew that it was a helicopter crash," said Robinson. "Anyone would have urgency in their voice to hear that."

The initial autopsy report reveals a tragic death for both men. Garrett died of multiple blunt trauma injuries. Downhower died of blunt trauma coupled with thermal burns to the body.

Robinson says he knew when he made the call to 911 that fatalities had occurred. He didn't know, however, who the victims were until he saw their faces on TV.

"We all feel sorry for their families," he told us.

The medical examiner is still awaiting toxicology results as well as an FAA report. The NTSB is also looking into the crash. Their investigation could take as long as six months.

Friends of Dave Garrett ask you keep them in your prayers along with Dave's family, and most of all, his son Adam.

Services honoring both men have been scheduled:

    John Downhower Memorial
    Friday, October 17, 11am
    Fellowship of the Woodlands
    One Fellowship Dr.
    The Woodlands, TX 77384

    David Garrett Funeral
    Saturday, October 18, 11am
    River Pointe Community Church
    5000 Ransom Rd.
    Richmond, TX 77469

The families of both Garrett and Downhower are asking that you contribute to funds set up for the men's children, in lieu of flowers.

For the Garrett family, contributions can be made to:

    Adam Ryan Garrett Educational Fund
    PO Box 1811
    Sugarland, Tx 77478-1811
For the Downhower family, you can make contributions at any Wells Fargo bank by asking specifically for the Mitchell Downhower College Fund.

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