Crop-dusting chopper crashes near Little Falls; pilot badly hurt

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 28, 2014 - 8:40 PM

A crop-dusting helicopter crashed late Wednesday morning into a barn north of Little Falls, Minn., leaving the pilot hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said.

The crash occurred shortly after 10:15 a.m. just off Haven Road, north of 233rd Street in Ripley Township, according to the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office.

The pilot was identified as Gary E. Oleen, 71, of St. Cloud. Oleen was listed in critical condition in St. Cloud Hospital, the Sheriff’s Office said.

According to the Sheriff’s Office:

Emergency responders arrived and saw that the aircraft had punctured the barn’s roof but did not go through the structure’s interior ceiling. Firefighters used an aerial ladder truck to remove the pilot and have him airlifted to the hospital.

“This was an extremely difficult and challenging rescue with the precarious position of the victim and his helicopter,” Sheriff Michel Wetzel said in a statement.

Wetzel added that emergency responders “did an outstanding job of quickly and safely removing the victim from the wreckage under extremely dangerous and challenging conditions.”

Paul Walsh

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