Dad of 5 killed in bizarre incident in Palm River helicopter crash

Hillsborough County

LATEST:  8 On Your Side has learned the victim in Thursday’s helicopter crash was a father of five and a grandfather of eight. 

Loved ones were too distraught to speak on camera. 

They say 72 year-old Deodat Persaud Gangapersaud was in perfect health. He was killed on his way home from the grocery store.

Multiple agencies are investigating the deadly incident.

“The pilot chose a road because it was the most open area that was available to him,” said Captiain John Cox. 

Cox, an aviation analyst, stated the maneuver the pilot performed is incredibly complicated.

“You could see the pitch that he was adding, it was very much under control,” said Captain Cox.

ORIGINAL:  A passenger inside of a pickup truck was killed by a rotor blade after a helicopter suffered “catastrophic” engine failure and crashed into a road in Palm River on Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. 

The crash occurred on 50th Street and Palm River Road at about 2:20 p.m. 

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said a piece of the helicopter’s rotor blades broke off and flew across the street, striking a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that was headed north on 50th Street near Palm River Road, killing a passenger. 

The deceased has been identified as Deodat Persaud Gangapersaud, 72. The car was driven by his son, Ryan Persaud, 36.

The pilot of the plane was identified as Bryant Messick, 39, and the co-pilot as Joshua Wells, 22.

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“These are two highly-trained pilots. From what we’re told, the helicopter had went in for service, they tested everything, made sure everything was functioning properly, conducted all of their checklist of their flight plan and were on their way back to Sarasota when, unfortunately [they] experienced that catastrophic engine failure,” said Chronister.

News Channel 8 has obtained a video that shows the helicopter try to land seconds before the crash. 

All roads in the surrounding area are now open.

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