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Pilot of ultralight helicopter in guarded condition after crash

The pilot of an ultralight helicopter was in guarded condition in the intensive care unit at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester with injuries suffered in a flaming crash Tuesday, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office reported Wednesday.

Deputies said Alan Heard, 64, of Waterport, was pulled from his craft by a passerby, Mark Bennett, of Waterport, who had stopped to watch him lift off at about 2 p.m. from Gaines Valley Aviation Airport, on Gaines-Waterport Road north of Albion. Bennett rolled Heard on the ground and cut his burning shirt off with a knife, the Sheriff's Office said.

Witnesses told deputies the Mosquito XE helicopter had climbed to more than 100 feet when they heard a popping and grinding noise and saw flames, the Sheriff's Office said.

FAA investigators were determining the cause of the crash, the Sheriff's Office said.

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