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'Surreal': Helicopter goes down near ice rink in Okanogan County

The helicopter landed hard close to an outdoor ice rink in Winthrop on Saturday. Kids had just been on the ice. No one was injured.

WINTHROP, Wash. — The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a two-passenger helicopter went down near an ice rink and hotel in Winthrop on Saturday. There were no injuries.

“We heard of a big kind of a thud-thud-thud. It was obvious that something had gone wrong,” said a witness, who did not want to be identified.

Kids had just been skating on the outdoor ice rink.

“I was unlacing my daughter's skates when it happened,” he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said around 12:30 p.m. the Hughes 369D helicopter hit a snowbank while it was attempting to land. The agency is investigating.

“The tail of it had come off, and a couple of propellers that come off and the windows were broken and debris, scattered pieces of fiberglass," the witness said.

It’s unclear why the helicopter ended up near the ice rink and hotel.

“It seemed kind of like an odd spot for it to land. But we figured the pilot knew what he was doing,” he said.

Crews began preparing to move the helicopter around 7 p.m.

“The fact that nobody got hurt, I think is a real blessing,” the witness said.

Highline Helicopters out of Darrington is listed as the owner of the helicopter. They did not comment when contacted.