The National Transportation Safety Board has begun its investigation into a helicopter crash near Bartlett that left two people injured Monday.
Two men were aboard a small, private helicopter that tipped sideways and exploded into flames late Monday morning as the pilot attempted to lift off from a field in Bartlett on the Bell-Williamson County line.
One man is recovering from 2nd and 3rd degree burns. He was airlifted to the Brook Army Medical Center burn unit in San Antonio. Authorities said he also suffered burns to the esophagus.
The other man evidently drove to a local hospital for treatment, authorities said.
The helicopter had touched down around 11 a.m. in the field just off Highway 95, which residents say is often used for by helicopter pilots. It evidently settled into mud from recent rains and when the pilot attempted to take off, the helicopter tipped sideways. The spinning rotor blade slammed into the ground and the helicopter exploded, authorities said. Authorities said the helicopter was a Robinson R-22, which is a small aircraft capable of carrying about 400 pounds in passengers and baggage, according to the manufacturer’s Web site. It has a four-cylinder engine, is capable of speeds up to 118 miles per hour and has a cruise speed of 110 miles per hour, the Web site says.