Pilot injured when home-built helicopter crashes into roof of home in Odessa

Hillsborough County

ODESSA, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputies are on scene of a helicopter crash Monday afternoon.

The helicopter crashed into a roof of a home located at 9450 Roberts Road, where it remains.

The sheriff’s office said the helicopter appeared to be a home-built helicopter from a kit.

The pilot was injured and was taken to the hospital as a trauma alert.

He was identified as Bradley Bates, 51, of Odessa.

Bates is in stable condition at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Neighbors were scared that Bates wouldn’t make it.

“When you hear a helicopter going down, I mean, you think the worst. You hear it’s landing on the roof, you’re hoping that, you know, it doesn’t catch on fire. You hope the pilot is okay,” said David Hall.

Neighbors said they heard Bates take off. Twenty minutes later, something went horribly wrong.

“I heard a spluttering noise and a loud slam. Didn’t sound right, so I didn’t see anything,” said Tim Peterson. “Then I looked straight back and I could see the tail rotor hanging out of the house.

Friends say the 51-year-old loves to fly and assembled the experimental helicopter by hand. They said he’s flown it countless times, never expecting this.

“It was very traumatic, fast-paced when crews first got, when they walked up and saw an aircraft through the roof of a home,” said Corey Dierdorff with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

County Fire has cut the power to the home and Code Enforcement will determine the damage to the structure.

The sheriff’s office said the helicopter will remain until investigations have concluded.

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