One person dead in helicopter crash - FOX 13 News

One person dead in helicopter crash

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Search and rescue crews have suspended the search for a pilot whose chopper plunged into Tampa Bay Friday afternoon.

The search will resume Saturday morning at 7:30.

The crash happened off the shores of Apollo Beach, near Pine Key, which is also known as Beer Can Island.

Witnesses say the rotors came off the helicopter and it plummeted into the water about 200 yards from the shore.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office initially thought two people were onboard the chopper, but later said there was only one person onboard. They know where the helicopter came from, but have not yet released that information.

The view from SkyFox showed numerous rescue vessels at the scene. A witness said right before the helicopter crashed, its rotor flew off.

"I heard the helicopter coming, it comes by here on almost a regular basis. It's a black helicopter with a white prop. Then I heard like a pop, or a clap, and I turned to the left and saw it, and it still maintained its trajectory, its straight line for a couple of seconds. And then I saw the blade fly up in the air. The white blade flew up and then it dropped immediately, dropped straight down, did a flip, and went into the water with a huge splash," said Apollo Beach resident Matthew Scull.

Witnesses said the helicopter broke apart on impact with the water; crews will resume the search for wreckage in the morning as well.

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