Woman killed, husband critically injured in fiery Darke County helicopter crash

DARKE COUNTY — A Darke County couple has been identified as the people killed and critically injured in a fiery Darke County helicopter crash Tuesday morning, according to Darke County Sheriff Mark Whittaker.

The crash happened on Hogpath Road between U.S. 127 and state Route 49 around 9:45 a.m.

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Krista Zimmer, 35, was identified as the victim pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband, Charles Zimmer, 34, was rescued from the helicopter by bystanders and deputies and flown to Miami Valley Hospital for treatment of critical injuries.

The Zimmers lived at the house where the crash happened. The helicopter was registered to Charles and the Zimmers were known to take off and land from their home, which is surrounded by farmland, Whitaker said in a media release.

A 911 call obtained by News Center 7 through a public records request describes a witness’s account of the crash.

“There’s a helicopter crashed on the ground in somebody’s driveway and it’s on fire and the pilot is still laying in it,” one 911 caller told dispatchers.

The caller later told dispatchers he saw two people still inside of the helicopter and that they were unable to get out. “I’m afraid it’s going to explode,” the caller said.

Whittaker confirmed one person was pronounced dead at the scene. A second person was rescued by deputies and bystanders, flown to Miami Valley Hospital by CareFlight medical helicopter, and is in critical condition, Whittaker said.

“It was through, I’ll say heroic efforts, of deputies who arrived on the scene, as well as some bystanders who were working hard, they were using buckets of water from a nearby house and fire extinguishers trying to beat back the flames while they tried to get the one occupant out,” Whittaker said.

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“I’m very proud of the deputies and citizen that helped out on that situation.”

The helicopter was registered out of Darke County and the sheriff’s office is familiar with aircraft, Whittaker said.

Investigators have not determined if the helicopter was taking off or landing when it crashed and caught fire.

The crash will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration, and will be the job of the Darke County Sheriff’s Office to document the scene for the investigation, Whittaker said. A potential cause of the crash has not been determined and remains under investigation.

“Its a tragic event and our hearts and prayers go out to the family members who are involved in this,” Whittaker said.

This is a developing story and we’ll update this page as we learn more.