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Three Wasatch County residents were taken to the hospital with serious injuries after the helicopter they were riding in crashed near homes in Heber City Saturday afternoon.
Authorities credited bystanders with saving their lives by jumping into action to immediately administer aid to the trio and prevent the wreck from catching fire.
Wasatch County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jared Rigby said Suzanne Tanner, of Heber City, and her 15-year-old son had hired pilot Ken Heidorn, of Midway, to give them a helicopter ride.
Partway through the flight, the helicopter, which was part of an air show at Heber City Airport, crashed about 12:15 p.m., Rigby said.
Several people reported witnessing the crash.
Jalayne Bassett, of Heber, was one of the first to arrive on the scene. "It looked like it was going to hit the roof of my house," Bassett said.
She was in a car a block away from her house when she saw the lightweight helicopter nose-dive. "I said, 'I think that chopper is going to hit my house.' "
She called 911 and within seconds it had crashed to the ground. She ran with witnesses to the site less than 100 yards from homes.
Bassett said that inside the helicopter, both the pilot and Tanner pinned underneath him were talking. Tanner suffered a compound fracture to her lower leg.
Rigby said several people called 911 to report the crash near 1500 South and 4800 East, in an unincorporated area of the county.
A member of the county's search and rescue team, who lives down the road and whose family witnessed the crash, was first on scene with his equipment, authorities said.
He found the teen pinned under the helicopter and started first-aid, officials said.
Another of the first to arrive happened to be a pilot who flies fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters and is also a member of the search and rescue team. Authorities said that person noticed the helicopter was leaking fuel and stopped the leak before a fire could start.
A group of people then worked together to lift the helicopter off the teen and removed Tanner and Heidorn from the wreckage.
"Given the circumstances of this case, we appreciate the hard work and sacrifice of the private citizens who worked so well together to save the lives of these three individuals," the sheriff's office said in a statement Saturday night.
Tanner and her son were flown to an area hospital with serious injuries but were reported to be in stable condition, said Wasatch County Deputy Sheriff John Rogers. Heidorn was taken by ambulance with less serious injuries.
No homes were damaged and no people on the ground were injured in the crash. The cause of the accident is unknown, Rogers said, but added the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.
The Heber City Airport was holding a fly-in and air show shortly before the crash happened.
Rigby said the helicopter was owned by High Velocity Aviation. The company's Facebook page lists a Woods Cross address.