Chopper makes emergency landing in farmer's Sutter Co. field

SUTTER COUNTY, Calif. - A firefighting helicopter made an emergency landing in a farmer's field after emergency lights for a low pressure gauge came on.

"We declared an emergency with them (Northern California Approach Control) and so they responded very well with fire and police. Because you never know how it's going to turn out," said pilot Sean Winter, with Croman Helicopters.

Winter was able to land the Sikorsky SH-3H safely in a field less than 100 yards from Highway 99 along Marcuse Road just after 3:30 Monday afternoon.

Winter was on his way from his company headquarters in White City, Oregon to California to demonstrate a new firefighting tool his company will be offering fire agencies.

Winter said a mechanic quickly pinpointed a problem with the Sikorski's transmission.

"We are going to replace the transmission. So we have people coming from our base in White City to perform that tonight," he said.

Winter believes the helicopter will be ready to fly out with a new transmission by sometime Wednesday.

The Sikorski was build in 1961, part of an extended procurement of helicopters the U.S. Navy was using for anti-submarine warfare during the Cold War.

Winter's said his helicopter was used to fight the Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park last fall.

He expressed his appreciation for how quickly local emergency responders arrived, just in case.

"Quick response. Very happy for what they did," he said.


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