80 year old man walks into chopper rotor in Fremont County


September 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

TABOR, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say an southwest Iowa man was injured after he walked into the tail rotor of helicopter that had just landed after touring flooding along Missouri River. The Fremont County sheriff’s office says 80-year old Robert Smith, of rural Tabor, was injured Wednesday afternoon. Sheriff’s dispatcher Cole Tackette told The Associated Press on Thursday that a private, two-seat helicopter flown by Larry Inman, of Randolph, had just landed near Smith’s house southeast of Tabor, and Smith walked out to meet it. Tackette says Smith apparently didn’t see the rotor and was hit in the face.

Smith was rushed to the Fremont-Mills School before being flown by helicopter to Creighton Medical Center in Omaha, and later transferred to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Hospital spokesman Paul Baltes said Thursday Smith was in critical condition, but Sheriff Kevin Aistrope told the Omaha World-Herald the mans’ injuries were not considered to be life-threatening.

The Sheriff said it’s possible Smith tripped and fell into the rotor blade, but the accident, which happened at around 1:30-p.m. Wednesday, remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office and the Federal Aviation Administration.