WYOMING COUNTY, Pa. — State police confirm one person is dead after a helicopter went down in North Branch Township in Wyoming County after 9:30 p.m. Thursday.
Trooper said the victim was the only person on board.
Authorities identified the victim as Dr. Sanjay Kansara, a member of the Robert Packer Hospital anesthesiology team.
State police believe a medical helicopter was flying over the area Thursday night is the one that spotted the downed aircraft on fire and called for help.
The recovery effort to find the pilot and downed chopper is made up of dozens of emergency crews including state police, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and many volunteer firefighters and search teams.
Just getting to the wreckage was no easy task.
From Skycam 16, you can see just how large of an area this is for crews to find the helicopter, which they did along with the dead pilot. The coroner has been called in.
The actual crash area is in North Branch Township, near an area neighbors call Big Deer Swamp.
Lauri Haines lives along Windy Valley Road, right next door to where state police and firefighters set up their staging site to begin their search several hours later. She says she heard a helicopter flying low.
"I was in a dead sleep. And I heard the helicopter. It was very, very, very loud, and then it went away," Lori Haines recalled. "Then about two, 2:30 a.m., I'm hearing trucks. Their lights were shining."
"It's difficult terrain, a lot of trees down. No one has cleared the path. It's still early in the season yet, so a lot of the roads haven't even been opened yet. A lot of people haven't seen them," said Josh Beeman.
Some of our crew rode up the mountain on a neighbor's UTV to get a better view. Troopers say that's the only way up.
"They had to get off of the ATVs and walk. I don't know how far in, but they had to walk a little bit more. You're talking two hours, maybe two and a half hours up and back," said Trooper Deanna Piekanski.
State police say the pilot was found dead in the helicopter. They say the male was the only person inside.
"We know that it was coming from Allentown to Towanda, but at this point, we have to make a positive identification on who the person is. The FAA is on scene. They are going up to the site and they are going to do their investigation," Trooper Piekanski added.
Troopers did not provide information about what may have caused the crash. Neighbors are left to wonder.
"You would assume that they would try to, if anything went wrong, land in this field right here. To have it go down and the mountain about not even two miles to the top seems kind of strange."
The FAA says the wreckage of a Robinson R44 copter was found in a remote area of Wyoming County on Thursday night after the agency had issued an alert about a missing aircraft.
The flight had departed Allentown Queen Municipal Airport in Allentown and was headed to Bradford County Airport in Towanda.
The Robinson R44 is a four-seat light helicopter that has been in production since 1992.