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Pilot hurt when helicopter crashes into Merced field

A helicopter pilot suffered major injuries after crashing into a field near the Merced Airport Friday morning. Witnesses pulled the man from the burning wreckage, authorities said.

According to Merced County Sheriff’s Capt. B.J. Jones, the call came in at 7:44 a.m. The helicopter, owned by Bettencourt Flying Service, had been spraying crops earlier in the morning.

The helicopter apparently hit some Pacific Gas and Electric power line guide wires before it crashed into the watermelon field and burst into flames.

The pilot, identified only as a 43-year-old man, was taken to a local hospital with major injuries.

We will have more on this story later today.

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