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Philadelphia news pilot and photographer killed in New Jersey helicopter crash

New Jersey State Police located the helicopter wreckage just after midnight in a heavily wooded area known as the Wharton State Forest, which covers 192 square miles

Stock photo of helicopter crash
Stock photo of helicopter crash | Shutterstock

December 20, 2023 9:10am

Updated: December 20, 2023 9:10am

A Philadelphia helicopter pilot and ABC news photographer were killed Tuesday night when a helicopter crashed in the neighboring state of New Jersey.

Action News helicopter Chopper 6 crashed in in Wharton State Forest near Hammonton, New Jersey, just after 8 p.m., according to a report published by local news affiliate, WPVI.

The pilot and photographer were returning from Jersey Shore assignment and were the only people aboard the seven-seat aircraft.

The helicopter was last seen airborne over the state forest at 8:03 p.m., according to FlightAware. It was a 2013 American Eurocopter AS-350A-STAR leased through U.S. Helicopters Inc.

New Jersey State Police located the helicopter wreckage just after midnight in a heavily wooded area that covers 192 square miles.

The area was a challenge for law enforcement agents and rescue personnel to access because of the forestry, the station said.

The Wharton State Forest, located in the Pinelands 40 miles southeast of Philadelphia is the state’s largest ecosystem and makes of 22% of the Garden State.

News footage of the crash captured the attention of local residents as videos recorded flames emanating from the helicopter wreckage while law enforcement officials searched for aircraft debris.

WPVI journalist Katherine Scott reported that the station was not releasing the names of the deceased because the news station was not certain the families were aware of the incident.

The two were merely described as news “veterans” with the station.

“They have a long history with our station and have been working as part of the Action News team for years,” the ABC affiliate said.

“Chopper 6 and those who fly it play an integral role in our news gathering operations accessing areas that are difficult to reach by ground,” Scott reported near the crash site.

News networks use helicopters to cover traffic, weather and breaking news stories, especially in metropolitan areas.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the cause of the crash, but no details are presently available on what may have happened.