TAUNTON (CBS) – A helicopter crashed at Taunton Airport Tuesday afternoon. There were two men on board the Robinson R44 when it crashed during takeoff. Both were uninjured and got out of the aircraft on their own.
Pilot Richard D’Auteuil says the helicopter was only a foot off the ground when a gust of wind knocked it over.
“I had gone up to Taunton with a friend as it was a nice day,” D’Auteuil told WBZ. “I was just lifting off and I guess I caught a gust and I didn’t react quick enough. It just rolled us over.”
He says he’s not happy to have damaged the aircraft, but is thankful no one was hurt. “You’re always trying to be prepared, it just caught me quickly,” he said. “I didn’t have quite enough time to respond.”
The Taunton Municipal Airport is an official reporting site for the National Weather Service. Winds were gusting at 22 mph at the time of the crash.
A small amount of fuel spilled but firefighters were able to contain it.
“They had flown from New Bedford this morning, had landed here in Taunton,” said Police Lt. Eric Nicholas. The helicopter was a part of a training program and was headed back to New Bedford at the time of the crash.
The cab and rotor blade are significantly damaged.
The F.A.A. was also on scene to investigate.