New Jersey pilot dies in helicopter crash in Delaware [video]

 Delaware State Police Master Cpl. Jeffrey Hale details the fatal crash near the scene of the incident on Quigley Blvd. in New Castle Thursday afternoon. (Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

Delaware State Police Master Cpl. Jeffrey Hale details the fatal crash near the scene of the incident on Quigley Blvd. in New Castle Thursday afternoon. (Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

Delaware authorities are investigating a deadly helicopter crash in New Castle.

It happened shortly before noon Thursday in the rear of the U.S Postal Services building and other businesses on Quigley Boulevard.

“I was just sitting in my office doing paperwork and a tremendous noise above the roof quickly followed by a loud explosion and the ground shook,” said Mark Allen of MHS Lift of Delaware about the accident. “I ran out the back door and saw the flames shooting up in the sky and realized that something had crashed,” 

According to Delaware State Police, the crash involved a 2006 airbus EC 135 P2 Helicopter. The pilot, a 37 year old New Jersey man did not survive. Officials said he was performing training exercises near the New Castle County Airport after traveling from the Atlantic City Airport. Investigators haven’t identified the victim, but said he worked for Metro Aviation. The pilot was operating a helicopter owned by Penn Star which is associated with the University of Pennsylvania Hospital.

“There were no other injuries as a result of the crash, minor structural damage was sustained by flying debris and flames,” said Delaware State Police Master Cpl. Jeffrey Hale.

Allen said noise from airplanes and helicopters is the norm but today the sound was alarming.

“This just came out of the blue like there was no warning. All of sudden there was just a loud noise and then the explosion. I’m assuming he was just coming down, toppling from the sky. That’s why you couldn’t hear anything until the last moment,” Allen said.

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time. Several agencies are active during the investigation. It includes the Delaware State Police, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

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