Couple survives helicopter crashes east of Baldwin City
By Ron Knox, Eric Weslander
A De Soto couple in an experimental, amateur-built helicopter crashed Wednesday in a rural Douglas County creek bed, apparently after a mechanical failure.
But even after falling 1,500 feet, both passengers survived.
The pilot, James L. Dohrman, 45, was flown to Kansas University Hospital with injuries that police said weren't life-threatening. His wife, Miya M. Dohrman, 47, was not seriously injured.
They had been flying in a RotorWay "Exec 162F" kit-built helicopter owned by James Dohrman and built in 2001, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol report and Federal Aviation Administration records. RotorWay, based in Chandler, Ariz., sells helicopter kits for about $67,000, according to the company's Web site.
About 3 p.m., the helicopter was flying about 1,500 feet above the eastern edge of Douglas County when James Dohrman heard a "bang" noise, according to the highway patrol's report.
"He heard a loud knock in the rear of the craft," Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Casey Simoneau said.
The helicopter crashed soon afterward in a pasture north of U.S. Highway 56 between East 2200 Road and East 2300 Road.
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Miya Dorhman reported the crash. When police arrived at 3:19 p.m., they found her outside waving them down from a field as the helicopter sat upside down in a nearby creek bed.
"It just took a little while to find her, to get her oriented to where she was," said Lt. Kari Wempe, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.
Simoneau said Miya Dorhman told investigators that her husband had flown such helicopters for more than 20 years.
The Signal will update this story as more information becomes available at www.baldwincity.com.