Name released in Fox River helicopter crash
OSHKOSH, Wis. (WLUK) -- One person died in the helicopter crash in the Fox River on Saturday afternoon, according the the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department.
The pilot was identified as 27-year-old Jonathan Bahr of Platteville.
Officials say around 12:30 p.m., they were called to the crash near the Wisconsin Street Bridge, where a helicopter hit a high-tension power line. They also said that several boaters in the area were unable to provide aid to any possible victims.
Power lines fell into the river, and as a result, rescue efforts were delayed for about two hours, as they worked to turn off the power and make the area secure.
It wasn't the helicopter, but racing boats that brought crowds to the Fox River in Oshkosh on Saturday. They were there for an event that raises money for different charities.
“We do this every year it's a great time, just had a bad day yesterday,” said Jeff Neubauer.
The boats were taking part in the annual Lake Winnebago Four Horsemen Poker Run. But around 12:30 on Saturday the helicopter, which was being used by the event, crashed. It happened during a busy time on the water, and even a day later boaters are still shaken up.
“Everybody you know, its talk of the tour,” said Neubauer.
Jeff Neubauer came to Oshkosh from Portage to participate in the poker run. He says it's common to have helicopters get close to the boats and take pictures at these events.
“Especially when it's a nice benefit,” said Neubauer. “People will buy the pictures and the money goes to a good cause.”
He said photographers in the helicopter can get pictures no one on the shore can capture.
“They will literally chase a boat, and it's awesome until something like this happens,” said Neubauer.
Eyewitness reports indicate the helicopter may have just dropped off a photographer prior to the crash.
Power company crews worked overnight and into the day getting the severed line over the river replaced. And 24 hours after the incident, the river was reopened to boat traffic.
The National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson, Eric Weiss, told FOX 11 today that a preliminary report will be released in seven to ten days. It will include interviews with eye witnesses and the initial examination of the wreck.
Probable cause of the crash will not be determined until the full investigation is complete. Weiss said that could take up to a year.
Once the area was secure, divers recovered the helicopter and the pilot's body from the river.
The investigation is now being handled by the NTSB and the FAA.
Boat traffic was closed for about nine hours as the recovery efforts happened.