Pilot: Engine of helicopter he built quit before it crashed

NEW CANEY, Texas (AP) — The pilot of a homebuilt helicopter that crashed on a rain-softened grassy area in Texas says the engine sputtered and quit before the accident.

Danny Whitten of Porter, Texas, told The Associated Press that he’s not sure why the engine failed before Saturday’s crash in New Caney, 25 miles (41 kilometers) northeast of Houston. Whitten says he was alone on the two-person rotorcraft and suffered minor bruises.

Emergency responders found the aircraft on its side in the grass near a church.

Whitten, who is associated with Southwest Gyroplanes, said he flew to Cleveland, Texas, and was returning to Anahuac, where the chopper is based. He was at an altitude of 1,500 feet (457 meters) when the engine died.

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Whitten says the rotorcraft, which he built in 2016, hit a small tree before crashing. The helicopter ended up on the ground near a Houston-area church.

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