Two Hurt in Luzerne County Helicopter Crash

FORTY FORT -- Two men were taken to the hospital after a helicopter crashed in Luzerne County.

Officials say both men were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries and released.

The helicopter was removed from the runway just a few hours after it crashed at the Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport in Forty Fort Monday afternoon.

Officials say a student pilot and his instructor were practicing touch and go takeoffs and landings on the runway just before 1 p.m. Monday when the helicopter flipped and crashed on its side.

"Very minor injuries of the occupants of the helicopter, very minimal amount of fluids down on the runway," said Forty Fort Mayor Andy Tuzinski.

Police and fire officials were on the scene of the crash down on the runway. Up above where there is a walking trail, many were shocked to see what was happening during their daily afternoon walk.

"It's surprising but it's part of life. Helicopters are very dangerous. I was told it was a lesson. Thank God they're OK," said Mike Maestri of Wyoming.

The runway was closed while officials waited for the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate. Later, a flatbed removed the helicopter from the runway.

"They put those vehicles out there as visual reminders in case someone doesn't get the word that the runway is shut down," explained Tuzinski.

The last time there was a major incident at this airport in Luzerne County was in 1989. Two people died in that crash.

"The operators of the airport are actually very responsible people. They cooperate with emergency services. We have a great relationship with them and they run a very good operation," Tuzinski added.

All of the vehicles have been removed from the runway now but it's still unclear if operations are running as normal here at the Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport.

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