Photos show CareFlite chopper minutes before crash

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on June 2, 2010 at 6:41 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 3 at 9:50 PM

NEWS 8 EXCLUSIVE

GRAND PRAIRIE — An Arlington photographer who's also a student pilot snapped the last known pictures of the CareFlite helicopter that crashed on Wednesday, killing the pilot and a mechanic on board.

Tim Pruitt was at the Grand Prairie Airport shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon when the green-and-white Bell 222 chopper lifted off and turned south toward Midlothian.

"I was like, 'Oh my goodness,'" Pruitt said after learning that the routine departure had ended in a catastrophic crash.

"I checked my pictures, and I looked at the time stamp and they departed out a little over 15 minutes before the crash happened," he said.

Pruitt said he had seen the CareFlite helicopter undergoing maintenance at Grand Prairie Airport for several weeks, and others corroborated that information.

The photographer noted that he had observed the chopper in a hangar without its rotors attached. Investigators will be trying to determine why the main and tail rotors were both found separated from the fuselage at the crash scene.

Zane Adams, another photographer, also supplied a series of photos of the ill-fated helicopter taken at about the same time.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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