CHATHAM, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Authorities continue to investigate after a helicopter made a crash landing in a suburban Morris County neighborhood Friday night.
Chopper 2 was over the scene in Chatham, where the 1,500 pound helicopter made a hard emergency landing around 6:30 p.m.
“I think the pilot, from my vantage point, did a wonderful job landing this helicopter where he did and could have averted catastrophe,” a Chatham spokesperson told reporters.
The Robinson R44 was traveling from Richmond, Virginia to Lincoln Park, New Jersey when it came down in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Main Street, narrowly missing the residential buildings and the people inside. However, the helicopter’s tail did hit a community garage, according to the FAA.
Neighbors told CBS2 this is something they never expected to see in their small, quiet town.
“It’s kind of surreal,” resident Jeff Andrews said.
Andrews was enjoying the warm weather Friday night when he noticed the helicopter flying dangerously close to the ground.
“It looked really low in the sky and it just kind of lunged forward, and we heard a bang. It sounded like it hit metal or something,” he said.
“We heard what we thought was an explosion,” another resident, Sarah Schwarz, said. “I was concerned it fell on the apartments. I ran over to make sure they were safe.”
The 54-year-old pilot from New Jersey walked away nearly unscathed, while his passenger was taken to a local hospital with back pain. They are both expected to be OK.
“Well I feel like there were angels looking out for a lot of people today,” Schwarz said.
The crash happened about three miles south of Morristown Airport.