Teen talks about taking ride on helicopter shortly before crash

Maddison Brown had taken what turned out to be one of the Vietnam era helicopter's final rides.
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 10:51 PM EDT
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LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The news of the fatal helicopter crash hit a little differently for people who’d taken a ride on it shortly before it went down.

Maddison Brown, who’s 19, is finding it hard to wrap her mind around the thought that she’d been having a fun ride on the Vietnam-era Huey just before the tragedy. The tour rides were offered by MARPAT Aviation from Logan County Airport.

Brown, who’s from Uneeda in Boone County, says she rode the helicopter twice this week, once Tuesday with her grandpa, and again Wednesday with her boyfriend’s little brother. She says they took off from the Logan County Airport a little before 4 p.m.

“It just kind of feels like you’re floating,” she said. “They’d look back and check on us and make sure we were OK.”

She says they landed around 4:15.

She’d posted pictures and videos from the ride on social media.

Brown says before she even made it home, she started getting messages from people asking if she was OK. That’s how she learned the helicopter she’d been on had gone down.

“I thought that was so crazy, and I feel so lucky and blessed to be here today,” she said.

The 911 call of the crash came in just after 5 p.m.

Brown says she had nightmares about the incident Wednesday night, and she’s been filled with relief she wasn’t on board and grief for those who were.

“My thoughts and prayers are going out to the families who are affected by this event,” she said. “I feel awful.”

She says she’d attended a meeting for work earlier in the day that ended around 2 p.m., and she can’t help but wonder what if the meeting had ended a little later.

“If it had taken much longer, it would have probably been me,” she said. “It’s just really scary to think of that.”

Brown says she felt perfectly safe while she was riding the helicopter.

An acquaintance had told her about the annual event for veterans where people could take rides on the chopper. People who rode were asked to make a donation.

For related coverage:

NTSB official: Agency dedicated to ‘a very thorough’ investigation into helicopter crash that killed 6

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