IUP Scene Transforms from Festive to Fearful

Article excerpt

Patrick Krupper was among a group of college students waving to a low-flying helicopter as it circled a parking lot in Indiana Borough

"After it did two spins, it literally dropped out of the sky," he said on Sunday. "As soon as it crashed, we had to sprint away. ... Stuff was flying over the house into the parking lot, debris and stuff."

The helicopter was being used to shoot aerial video of the town and Indiana University of Pennsylvania's campus for a reality television show that focuses on police in college towns.

The pilot and three members of the crew filming for "Campus PD" were injured when the helicopter crashed between two buildings in the 700 block of Klondyke Avenue near the campus about 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The students waving to the aircraft were enjoying the last weekend before finals and graduation. No one on the ground was hurt.

Three people in the helicopter were able to get out with little assistance, while one had to be extricated from the wreckage, Indiana Borough Police Chief William Sutton said.

Federal Aviation Administration officials were in Indiana Borough shortly after the crash. Determining what caused the crash will likely take months, spokesman Jim Peters said.

He said one crew member had minor injuries, while the other two and the pilot had injuries ranging from serious to critical. Neither Sutton nor Peters had their names. The Associated Press said a spokeswoman for Allegheny General Hospital, North Side, confirmed that the pilot had been taken there but declined to release information about his condition.

The helicopter blades cut holes in the roof of one building and in the wall of the other, borough fire Chief Chuck Kelly said.

About noon yesterday, a towing company began loading the helicopter onto a flat-bed truck as firefighters doused the wreckage and surrounding area with foam to prevent sparks from igniting leaking fuel. The helicopter was taken to Indiana County's Jimmy Stewart Airport, Kelly said.

Evacuated students were cleared to return to their homes once the wreckage was removed and the fuel spill was cleaned. …