Helicopter avoids mobile homes before crashes

A helicopter that crashed in Valle Vista Sunday morning barely missed a local mobile home park.

Two passengers from a film crew for the television show "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" suffered minor injuries in a crash east of Kingman just before noon Sunday.

The pilot was uninjured.

According to Mohave County Sheriff Office spokesman Jarrod Lyman, said the crew was about to film the dropping of the world's largest rubber band ball for one of the show's segments.

A spokeswoman from Sony Pictures Television in Los Angeles said the helicopter was filming a caravan of trucks along the highway out to a remote desert site when it crashed.

The helicopter would later have filmed the dropping of the 2,600-pound ball out of an airplane from 6,000-feet above the ground.

The ball, made up of 6 million rubber bands, broke into two smaller pieces at impact, which created a 3-foot crater, she said.

A number of skydivers also filmed the 14-foot circumference ball as it dropped from the plane, she said.

The spokeswoman said the particular episode would not to be aired until next spring.

She also said the helicopter did not have mechanical problems when it crashed.

The show's executive producer, Dan Jbara, said the ball was the creation of Tony Evans of Wales.

Evans spent four years building the ball with rubber bands in his garage.

When his wife told him to get rid of it, he contacted the television show.

Susan Atkin who lives in a trailer at the end of the park said the helicopter flew along State Route 66 near her home about 15 miles northeast of Kingman.

The helicopter flew less than 20 feet off the ground before it crossed the highway and struck a power line.

The craft broke in half on impact on the other side of the road about 50 yards away, Atkin said.

"The helicopter flew right over us," she said.

"It almost seemed as if it was going sideways looking for a place to land.

We heard what sounded like a zing then heard a boom."

Atkin said it appeared the helicopter had engine trouble with its engine at a low revolution.

She added that it had been a calm day with no wind.

Another park resident, Bill Williams, said the helicopter made a sudden control drop.

Williams also said he saw a number of trucks in the area before the crash.

"It looked like they were taking pictures," he said.