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'I could've been hit by a helicopter out of nowhere': Driver recounts near miss while driving on I-10

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ST. CHARLES PARISH – It was a normal drive along Interstate 10 on Tuesday afternoon when Tenney Grantham Arrighi noticed a small helicopter pass by above.

“The helicopter was flying low. It didn’t look like it was in trouble at that point,” she said. “It was just following the interstate. I thought, ‘That’s funny. I haven’t seen a traffic helicopter in a really long time.’”

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She paid little mind to that sight.

“It went into the fog, and I couldn’t see it after that,” she said.

Things began to quickly change. Tail lights began to glow. Traffic stopped. Then, a horrifying sight.

“I saw the white smoke, and I thought it was a car,” she said. She quickly realized it was worse.

That helicopter she saw moments earlier had crashed to the interstate below.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the downed chopper was Bell 407. Only the pilot was on board, said Emma Duncan, an FAA spokeswoman.

There was no immediate information about any injuries, but Arrighi said that when she slowly passed the crash scene, there was a large debris field with pieces on the road and in the water below.

“There’s nothing left there now. It’s burnt level with the asphalt,” Arrighi said.

A Facebook video she posted showed smoke and flames but little else.
                                                    
First responders who raced by appeared to have little work to do given the severity of the crash

“They were in a hurry at first,” Arrighi said. “There were no stretchers. There was no treatment bags, nothing like that.”.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates.

Arrighi was still trying to process the news as the day went on and more details emerged.

“I just kind of wondered,” she said, choking back tears. “Three minutes away. I could’ve been hit by a helicopter out of nowhere. You can’t avoid that. That’s a very, very freak accident. It is disturbing to think about it.”

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