Wakeboarders Come To Aid Of Pilot After Chopper Crashes

By Adam Carter, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

LAKEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — A helicopter pilot can thank Josh Tranby for deciding to skip work Tuesday.

Tranby, a 22-year-old Anoka man, and a group of friends were wakeboarding on Lake Marion in Lakeville when they witnessed a helicopter crash into the lake around noon. They quickly took their boat over to where the crash occurred, and encountered the pilot.

“He was already out of the helicopter and we could see a little blood on his forehead,” Tranby told WCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy and NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Adam Carter.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Adam Carter Reports

The pilot, identified as 35-year old Kevin Rossan of Michigan, had been spraying a nearby marsh for mosquitoes when the helicopter began to have engine trouble.

There were two nurses on the boat with Tranby and his friends, and they instructed him to use a wakeboard as a makeshift backboard to get Rossan to shore.

“The surfboard was floating him,” said Tranby. “We just brought him into shore. (Rossan) was thankful we were there.”

Dakota County Sheriff Dave Bellows agrees.

“They’re heroes, because they put themselves at risk,” he said.

Rossan was taken to HCMC. Bellows said he had non-life threatening back injuries.

The FAA and NTSB will investigate the crash. The helicopter was still in the lake as of Tuesday afternoon.

More from Adam Carter
  • OOPS


  • yowzer

    WOW….I hope it wasn’t one of those super secret, cross my heart, double down probation types. Glad the pilot made it out ok

  • Matt

    It was a Mosquito Control helecopter

  • Shannon

    Glad the pilot is OK. Not surprised about the crash. He has been flying around for the past few days, barely skimming over the rooftops in the area. The guy flies like a maniac.

    • k

      Um he has to!!! Unless you would like him to blanket the entire area and have you breathe in all the toxins used on the mosquitos.

  • Mikey

    Shannon, next time you have a mosquito on you arm, think of this guy! This is what they do, no different than a crop duster, danger is in their job. Thank you for your service in helping control mosquito’s so that the rest of us can enjoy the summer. Hope you are O.K.

  • Anna

    So glad no serious injuries were reported in this I do hope the fish are ok. I am sure the snappers are tough in there though so they probably wouldn’t sustain many injuries adn the bull heads are bottom feeders and had time to scatter they are thick skinned and can survive.

  • Louis Freehdomfries

    Was there insecticide spilled into Lake Marion? How much? What kind? What are the effects? Pilot error is not good for the lake. Pilot ERROR.

    • Patty

      The helicopter pilot is not flying like a maniac. They have to fly low to treat the sites. MMCD has been around over 50 years and hasn’t crashed into a house. You must be new to Minnesota. Check out MMCD.org.
      And Louis,
      MMCD doesn’t spray pesticides from the helicopter. The helicopter was putting out BTi pellets, which is little corn granules with a bacteria that the larvae eat. Bti – Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis is used to control biting gnats and larval mosquitoes. Bti is a natural soil bacteria that disrupts the digestion of mosquitoes and biting gnats.
      Check out MMCD.ORG and get educated about MMCD.

      • Shannon

        I have watched many years of the helecopters flying in the area. This guy was not flying safely. I watched him come very close to rooftops. I used to fly medivac, and know how helecopeters should fly – this guy was not flying safe!!! Less than 30 minutes before the crash, I told my wife that he is going to crash today!!!

        • Bill

          Were you there watching him fly?? Now who is the ass

  • Spell Check

    Hey Shannon – if you actually flew a helicopter, you’d think you’d know how to spell it.

  • Sam

    My thoughts exactly! LOL!

  • guest

    those guys are total heros! how smart to use the wakeboard as a spine board. totally cool under pressure. these guys need to join the volunteer emergency sqaud or something.

  • Alan

    I watched him above Ecolab in Eagan around 8am & heard some cracking noises coming from the ‘copter during a high-G turn that made me feel uneasy about his safety. Very sad to hear that he put it in.

    • guest

      OMG how freakin’ scary!

  • Tom

    Watched him fly in the area, I agree with Shannon, he was too close to the houses.

  • Theo Gagner

    @Shannon, @Louis and @Tom, how close he flies to houses has nothing to do with engine trouble, The fact that you bring it up just shows that you’re not really interested in be thankful the pilot is ok or commending the men that helped the guy; what you are interested in is having a forum to complain about mosquito control pilots. Bad form.

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