Two people were killed, including the pilot, after a helicopter crashed and caught fire in Texas on Friday morning, officials said.
The victims were the only people on board, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed. Their names have not yet been released.
The Robinson R44 helicopter crashed into an empty lot surrounded by businesses in Rowland at around 11:30 a.m., Dallas TV-station WFAA reported.
Cellphone footage shows the white chopper spinning out of control against a blue sky. Its blades struggle to rotate and then seem to give out as the aircraft tumbles down and out of frame.
“Jesus Christ!” someone can be heard exclaiming in the clip.
Another video from a doorbell camera captured the moment the helicopter slams into the ground and bursts into flames.
Aerial footage from media choppers showed the charred aircraft smoldering in a heap on the ground. Officials later cordoned off the crash site with a tent.
Witness Joseph Kasper, told WFAA that the helicopter went down about 40 feet away from him while he was working at a nearby mechanic shop.
Kasper said he saw the tail rotor blade appear to break off in mid-air, sending the aircraft plummeting.
Other witnesses also claimed seeing the tail fall off.
“I saw the helicopter coming down,” Fabio Sanches Jelezoglo told WFAA. “I heard a noise and when I looked up the helicopter was coming down and the tail was off.”
The exact cause of the crash remains unclear. The FAA and National Transit Safety Board are leading the investigation.
The Robinson R44 helicopter has a reputation of fatal accidents, according to Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, a law firm based in Los Angeles.
The craft has been involved in 561 accidents, 203 of which were fatal resulting in 405 deaths, the firm said.
Rowland is located about 120 miles northwest of Dallas near the Oklahoma border.