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.