Helicopter crashes near Chicago Executive Airport in Prospect Heights

ByJohn Garcia and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Helicopter pilot crashes on Prospect Heights street: 'I'm lucky'
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Helicopter pilot Ovideau Ostalus called himself "lucky" after crashing in a suburban intersection near Chicago Executive Airport Wednesday morning.

WHEELING, Ill. (WLS) -- A helicopter crashed in Prospect Heights near the Chicago Executive Airport Wednesday morning.

The crash occurred on Milwaukee Avenue near Apple Drive south of Palatine Road.

Prospect Heights police said they received a call about the crash at about 6:40 a.m. Police said the pilot and sole occupant remained on the scene as authorities arrived.

"It was very scary to see it over there. I think he did a great job I guess getting in the street and not hurting anyone else. I think it's very lucky all and all," said onlooker Carol Maloney.

The helicopter sitting on its side in the middle of Milwaukee Avenue drew a crowd of onlookers. Most were relieved to learn the pilot was the only one on board and he's survived without major injury.

In fact, Ovideau Ostalus suffered a dislocated shoulder and cuts on his leg, but is otherwise feeling good.

A fire official gives an update on the helicopter crash near Chicago Executive Airport.

"I have a God up there who was watching over me," Ostalus said. "I'm lucky and pretty good trained as well."

Ostalus got his pilot's license earlier this year. And the helicopter, a Robinson R-44 Raven, is a brand new 2021 model. Due to storms in the area, he decided to land at Chicago Executive Airport Tuesday night rather than try to land at his company's helipad in Morton Grove.

He checked it Wednesday morning before takeoff and it was fine. But once he was in the air, the engine started revving and then shut down.

"I started looking for a spot, 'cause I was only 300 feet off the ground," Ostalus said.

He found a spot on Milwaukee Avenue, making sure he was clear of any cars on the ground.

"I was looking to make sure people are safe," he explained.

But once on the ground, he said a rotor hit a pole and pushed the chopper onto its side. Crews used a crane to pull it onto a flatbed truck.

"It looked horrific," onlooker James Ledlow said. "You never wanna see a helicopter on its side on the road like that."

Crews brought the helicopter to a hangar at the airport, which was closed for a short time but resumed normal operations later Wednesday morning. The FAA will take a closer look as they investigate what caused the engine to fail.