GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – A helicopter made a hard landing Sunday afternoon only a few yards away from spectators and participants in a skateboarding event on Lookout Mountain.

The private helicopter went down nose first on the steep slope in Golden at about 2:30 p.m. right by Lookout Mountain Road. The helicopter was recording video of the Buffalo Bill Downhill race, an annual skateboarding competition on Lookout Mountain.

Dozens of spectators on the sides of the road had to take immediate cover as the blades of the helicopter came dangerously near.

Three people on board the helicopter all survived.

heli crash 3 paul sampson Major Scare During Skateboarding Race As Helicopter Crashes

Paul Sampson of Golden took this photo during the Buffalo Bill Downhill longboarding race on May 8. No one was hurt when the helicopter went down.

In video of the incident shot by a witness and obtained by CBS4 the helicopter’s top rotor can be seen clipping a tree and then the tail rotor falls off.

A witness told CBS4 the people in the helicopter “waited until the propeller stopped hitting things and then they got out like crazy.”

The helicopter was registered to Colorado Heli-Ops, a Broomfield company. Owner Dennis Pierce told CBS4 on Monday that the pilot reported a loss of power and that he put the helicopter down in the best place he could under the circumstances.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board told CBS4 there were no mechanical problems with the aircraft.

Jennifer Rodi, a senior air safety investigator with NTSB told CBS4 the copter, a Robinson R44, suffered “substantial damage,” including a partially separated tail boom. She’s waiting for the pilot, whose name is not being released, to file a written report describing what happened. Such a report must be filed within 10 days of the accident.

Rodi also confirmed there was a fuel leak from the impact damage but it caused no fire. Rodi says the NTSB expects to release a finding of probable cause in approximately 4 months.

Emergency officials closed the road for several hours after the incident.

The names of the pilot and passengers so far are not being released.


Comments (7)
  1. togwoo says:

    Robinsons are pretty reliable. Sounded like he had opower as he touched down. Will be interesting to see what happened.

  2. tish says:

    togwoo, are you a pilot? Hmmm… Anyway, CBS Denver, the helicopter was already going down BEFORE it hit the trees. You should view the video footage Channel 2 WGN has of the accident. It clearly shows a malfunction happen. The pilot was very skilled to be able to land it without ANYONE getting hurt, both in the helicopter and on the ground!!!!!!

    1. John says:

      Wrong. The pilot is likely the one who CAUSED the accident. He was attempting a maneuver in an aircraft that didn’t have enough power at that altitude. All he had to do was READ THE OGE CHART.

      There’s nothing I hate more than armchair quarterbacks rendering opinions on things they know NOTHING about.

  3. JOANARIGUDA says:


  4. JOANARIGUDA says:

    link vid youtube:

  5. Maria says:

    This is the STUPIDEST thing I’ve ever seen — Having an AIRPLANE pilot analyze a helicopter accident. It was underpowered at that elevation with that heat, too heavy, unable to hover.

  6. Nancy McCurry says:

    My son is there in the foreground, and I’m sending my deepest most heartfelt thanks to the pilot for keeping all those people from harm. No one was hurt. That’s the point here. The pilot has my highest admiration.

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