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Helicopter Pilot, 71, Critically Injured After Crashing Into Barn

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 71-year-old St. Cloud pilot is in critical condition after crashing a helicopter into a barn in Morrison County Wednesday morning.

The Morrison County Sheriff’s Office says they received the report of the crash in Ripley Township at approximately 10:18 a.m. Upon arrival, deputies discovered that the crop dusting helicopter crashed on the roof of a barn, located off of Haven Road north of 233rd Street.

Emergency responders could see the pilot inside the helicopter, but were unable to immediately help him due to the helicopter being crashed through the roof of the barn, but not through the interior ceiling.

Firefighters were eventually able to remove the pilot by using an aerial ladder truck.

“This was an extremely difficult and challenging rescue with the precarious position of the victim and his helicopter,” Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said. “Firefighters and personnel from both Gold Cross and North Memorial Ambulance, along with Morrison County deputies did an outstanding job of quickly and safely removing the victim from the wreckage under extremely dangerous and challenging conditions.”

The pilot, identified as Gary Earl Oleen, was then airlifted to St. Cloud Hospital where he is listed in critical condition.

Wetzel says the FAA is investigating and the cause of the crash has not been determined.

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