A helicopter slammed into the dirt driveway of a north Scottsdale home Wednesday, killing a Mesa pilot and a woman aboard the craft.
The twoseater Robinson R22 came down about 11:35 a.m. near Pima and Jomax roads, narrowly missing two homes but harming no one on the ground, said Dave Cieslak, spokesman for the Scottsdale Fire Department.
“I opened the shutters in my daughter’s bedroom, and there was the helicopter, less than 20 feet away,” said Debbie Alberts, a resident of one of the homes. “It’s a shock to us.”
Alberts said her neighbor, Robert Sandoval, was also home at the time and called 911.
The pilot was identified as Carl Smith, 39, of Mesa. The name of the female passenger was not released because her family still needed to be notified, said Sgt. Mark Clark, Scottsdale police spokesman.
The helicopter hit a mesquite tree in the neighborhood of retirees and families. Some fuel leaked into the ground, but it did not ignite, officials said.
“I thought something hit the house,” said Terry Ziemer, who lives in the area. “It was more like a shock wave.”
Fire crews were on the scene in less than three minutes, Cieslak said.
It was not immediately known why the white, twobladed civilian craft went down.
Nearby residents said they didn’t hear any sounds of an engine stalling or sputtering prior to the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.
The helicopter is owned by All Out Aerial, a Scottsdale Airpark company that specializes in aerial photography, helicopter tours and flight instruction.
A company employee reached by phone would not comment on the incident.
The company Web site, www.alloutaerial.com, reported that Smith had more than 1,000 flying hours in various helicopters, and was a certified flight instructor.