UPDATE: U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter crashes at airport in Oklahoma City, pilots manage to escape

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter crashed at an airport in Oklahoma City during a training flight Wednesday afternoon.

Emergency responders, including the Oklahoma City Fire Department, were called to the 1700 block of North Cimarron Road in the area of the Clarence E. Page Municipal Airport.

Image of a chopper crash and fire
The fiery wreckage of a helicopter crash in Oklahoma City.

Two pilots – a teacher and a student – were aboard the helicopter.

Customs and Border Protection officials released the following statement Wednesday evening about the crash, saying the helicopter ignited in flames after crashing:

“At approximately 3:30pm CST, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Air and Marine Operations (AMO) AS350 aircrew were conducting training exercises at Clarence E. Page Municipal Airport (KRCE) in Oklahoma City, OK. During a training exercise, the aircraft impacted the ground, caught fire, and is unrecoverable. The aircrew suffered minor injuries, were medically evaluated at University of Oklahoma Medical Center, and released.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration have been notified.

A CBP AMO Accident Investigation Team has been activated as per CBP policy. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”

U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION

However, when Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson spoke with KFOR soon after the crash, he said the pilots told him that the helicopter ignited in flames prior to crashing.

“Our understanding is it went to the ground with them still in it, with it still on fire, and they got out on their own,” said Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson of the Fire Department. “I don’t know how far they got away from the wreckage, but when we arrived, they were a safe distance from it and [we] helped them to the ambulance and they were transported.”

Both pilots were taken to a hospital to be examined for injuries.

Chopper4 flew to the crash scene and captured footage of the fiery aftermath.

The helicopter was burned down to its frame by the time firefighters arrived, according to Fulkerson.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze.

Customs and Border Protection officials are investigating the crash.

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