Witness heard trouble with helicopter rotor

Minutes before the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed into the Sound Tuesday night, Mike Morrison’s wife stepped outside of their garage and said she could see the wheels on the helicopter.

“She could see the bottom of the helicopter,” Morrison said. “That’s how low it was over the house.”

Morrison, a former pilot who lives on the Sound right on the county line, said at about 8 p.m., he noticed one of the helicopter’s rotors sounded different and then heard the rotors hit the water.

Seconds later, he heard a pop, which he believes was the engine ingesting water.

“There was no fire, no flame, nothing,” he said.

He didn’t hear an explosion and the fog was too thick for him to see anything.

Morrison said the crash occurred about 600 feet from his dock, which has a video camera. He said the camera didn’t pick up any flashes that would indicate there was an explosion. He didn’t smell any fuel or smoke.

At the time of the crash, Morrison said the helicopter was moving north to south.

Search and rescue teams were outside at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“I heard them say they found the cockpit and the tail section,” he said, adding that he heard the divers say the nose section was pushed in.

Morrison said rescuers recovered two bodies that were still strapped in to the helicopter and left the scene.

Officials, who have not confirmed this account, are still calling the operation a search and rescue mission.

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