Plane, helicopter collide in Virginia, 2 killed

December 31, 2010 2:56:39 PM PST
Federal aviation officials say a small aircraft collided with a medical helicopter in the air Friday afternoon in rural western Virginia, killing two people on the plane. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said the collision occurred at about 2:30 p.m., a half-mile north of the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyers Cave. The airport is about 30 miles northwest of Charlottesville.

The two people killed were aboard a Cessna 172 plane. Their names weren't immediately released. Peters said the helicopter was damaged but landed safely with three people aboard. He said the occupants of the helicopter walked away, and he was not aware of any injuries on the ground.

According to weather observers, conditions were clear with light winds in the area around the time of the accident.

Peters said it appeared the helicopter was attempting to land and the Cessna was taking off when they collided. He described the airplane as a small, general aviation four-seater.

The Cessna's registered owner is Michael W. Price of Elkton, Va., Peters said. The helicopter is owned by PHI Inc. of Lafayette, La.

A call to the home of the plane's owner went unanswered Friday evening, and a representative of PHI did not immediately return a phone message.

Peters says the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.


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