07 - 20 - 2010 Helicopter goes down into Susquehanna River
(DI) A brief "lapse of concentration" while spraying for black flies caused Gerald Racey to fly a Jet Ranger Bell 206 helicopter into electrical wires draped over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, spiral out of control & land in about 6 inches of water yesterday morning. It was the first time the 64-y/o Virginia pilot had crashed in the 42 years he has flown helicopters. He was flying east at about 8am when the sun shone in his eyes, so he changed course & began flying west along the river & "had a lapse of concentration" when he came upon 3 PPL electrical wires strung between 2 metal poles. Racey's actions couldn't stop the aircraft from spiraling toward the water. A PPL engineer said the electrical wires that were pulled down by the helicopter serve 785 customers in the White Deer Twp. & New Columbia area.