PHOENIX – A small helicopter crashed into a residential neighborhood Wednesday, knocking off part of a home's roof before settling in a tree just feet from another house.
Two men were on board when the aircraft went down, the fire department said. They appeared to be in stable condition when they were taken to a nearby hospital.
There was no fire and no injuries on the ground.
Neighbor Scott Chapin said he heard the helicopter hitting his neighbor's house and ran outside, where he saw the wreckage sticking up. He said that he initially thought it was a tree trimmer's boom or a piece of construction machinery that had hit power lines above the home.
"But then that didn't make any sense, because the rotor was still going around making an incredibly weird noise, a very ear-deafening noise," Chapin said. "So I knew it was something else, but it did not dawn on me that it was a helicopter because that's such a rare thing to happen in the middle of a Wednesday."
The helicopter appeared to fall almost vertically onto the roof, then slid off and landed in the tree, Chapin said.
One of the two men on board was helped to the street by bystanders, Chapin said. He didn't see the second man.
"He was conscious, but totally stunned, or really knocked around, shell-shocked," Chapin said. "I can only imagine he must have had a heck of an impact. He got his bones rattled for sure."
The copter crashed in an east Phoenix neighborhood about four miles north of Sky Harbor International Airport. All that could be seen from the street was a red tail boom sticking into the air.
The helicopter smashed into the roof of one home, causing substantial damage, and also damaged the next home's air conditioning units. Utility crews made repairs after the crash.
The helicopter was a Hughes 269C, a small two-seater commonly used for personal and ranch use and for pilot training. The aircraft was registered to Canyon State Aero in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert. The company's website says it specializes in pilot training.
Calls and emails to the company weren't immediately returned.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident.
Associated Press photographer Ross D. Franklin contributed to this report.