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Local grandmother dies in helicopter crash


MIDWEST CITY, Okla. — Joyce Ates from Midwest City was not the typical grandmother. 

She loved her grandkids; she also loved to fly. 

The 60-year-old woman died when the helicopter she was in went down near Houston Monday afternoon. 

The pilot, 40-year-old Christopher Yeager, was killed as well.

Witnesses said the chopper was spinning out of control before it crashed into a pipe yard and burst into flames.  

Ates’ family said that she was an aerial photographer on a shoot. 

She loved to be in the air and had been shooting aerial photos for around 15 years. 

At one point, Ates even flew her own glider. 

Her nephew, Terrell Monks, said she was an amazing woman.

“She was a wonderful person. She had a great mind. She was very smart. Her children were her whole world to her, until grandchildren came along,” he said.

Monks said his aunt was able to do everything and continually amazed him. 

“She traveled all over the country, had been to most all the states taking pictures,” Monks said. “To see the 60-year-old Pentecostal lady in a jean skirt hanging out the side of the helicopter taking pictures. All of those wonderful parts of her made a particularly wonderful person.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. 

It could be months before they know what went wrong.