Helicopter clips power line, crashes in field

LOS FRESNOS — A 61-year-old pilot is in critical condition after his helicopter snagged a power line and caused him to crash off of FM 803 and Ebony Road outside Los Fresnos yesterday morning.

The male pilot was taken to Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen before being transported to the San Antonio Military Medical Center to be treated for burn injuries.

“It looks like he clipped a power line, causing him to lose control of the helicopter and crash into the field,” Los Fresnos Fire Chief Gene Daniels said. “He (was) in critical condition with burns on his upper body.”

A nearby resident heard the impact and called 9-1-1.

The crash caused a grass fire that was quickly put out by the fire department. One truck handled the helicopter, which had chemicals on board, and another handled the grass.

Nobody else was injured, but the damaged power line did need to be repaired by Magic Valley Electric Cooperative.

The helicopter was a cropduster contracted by the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication program, officials said.

The Cameron County Sheriff’s Department, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Los Fresnos Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene.

Authorities blocked off traffic around the area as lawmen investigated the crash site.