MELROSE, Fla. – Two people died Saturday morning when an experimental helicopter known as a gyrocopter crashed and caught fire on private property off County Road 214 in the Melrose area of Clay County, Sheriff Michelle Cook said.
The sheriff said calls started coming in just after 10 a.m. Saturday about a crash in the private field near a house off 214 in the Melrose area. She said deputies and Fire Rescue responded and firefighters were able to put out a small fire.
According to an FHP report, at about 10:10 a.m., the gyrocopter crashed into a residential grassy field near County Road 214 and Melrose Road and caught fire on impact.
The two people inside died at the scene, troopers said.
Cook said FHP is taking the lead in the investigation and any further updates will come from that agency.
She did confirm that the aircraft appeared to be a homemade gyrocopter and described it as “badly mangled and badly burned.”
She said it landed within 100 feet of two buildings on either side.
“Unfortunately, two people have passed away, but we’re very fortunate that this gyrocopter did not hit a house,” Cook said, adding that it’s possible the operator was able to intentionally avoid the buildings in a last moment of heroism before crashing in the field.
Clay County Fire Rescue reported at 10:11 a.m. that crews were at the scene of a downed aircraft in the area of County Road 214 and Baker Road.
Crews are responding to the scene of a downed aircraft in the area of the 6500 block of BAKER RD/COUNTY ROAD 214.
— Clay County Fire Rescue (@ClayFireRescue) July 30, 2022
At 11:26 a.m., the Clay County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on social media that a helicopter had crashed in that area and was “still on fire.” That fire had been extinguished by 11:43 a.m., deputies said.
HELICOPTER CRASH: CCSO AND CCFR are on scene working a helicopter crash on C/R 214 in Melrose. Helicopter is still on fire. If possible, please avoid the area at this time. Media staging area: 7085 C/R 214
* Updates will be posted as they become available.* pic.twitter.com/gmfaJa0coQ
— Clay County Sheriff’s Office, FL (@ccsofl) July 30, 2022
Drivers and residents were asked to avoid the area if possible.
At 12:10 p.m., the Florida Highway Patrol confirmed in a Tweet that the two occupants inside the “experimental aircraft” had died at the scene. FHP said the crash occurred on private property at County Road 214 near Melrose Road, which is about a block up from Baker Road.
Fatal aircraft crash in Clay County. Keystone Heights area. County Road 214 and Melrose Road. Two occupants on experimental aircraft went down on private property. Both occupants confirmed deceased on scene. pic.twitter.com/fvfFfQTRID
— FHPJacksonville (@FHPJacksonville) July 30, 2022
At 12:39 p.m., the National Transportation Safety Board posted that it will be investigating the crash of “an experimental Gyroplane T-2″ near Melrose.
NTSB investigating the July 30, crash of an Experimental Gyroplane T-2 near Melrose, Florida.
— NTSB Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) July 30, 2022
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