Brian Kelly

NEW ATHENS, Ill. (AP) — The pilot of a crop-dusting helicopter was killed after his aircraft crashed in a southern Illinois field.

The St. Clair County deputy coroner says James Burks of Hot Springs, Ark. was pronounced dead Thursday at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Hundelt says the helicopter was spraying fungicide on a wheat field near New Athens when the rotor separated from the aircraft, causing it to crash. The 59-year-old Burks was the only person aboard the helicopter.

Hundelt told the Belleville News-Democrat the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration investigators have taken over the crash investigation.

A safety board spokesman declined to comment on Thursday’s crash.

Copyright Associated Press

our earlier story:

NEW ATHENS, Il (KMOX) – The pilot of a crop dusting helicopter that crashed near New Athens, Illinois has died.

The aircraft went down around 3:30 this afternoon.

The small chopper crashed in a field near Route 13 and Werner Road.

There’s no word yet on the victim’s name.  The investigation into the cause is underway.

Copyright KMOX Radio


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