Jeron Detty hung out of a helicopter -- there was no door -- shooting aerial footage for a new hunting show.
Double Lung Outdoors, somewhat prophetically, wrote on Facebook last week that the footage for the show "will be PHENOMENAL." And it was.
Detty, whose Ohio-based company Detty Outdoors, was filming in New Mexico with his crew and Becky Lou Lacock of Double Lung Outdoors on Aug. 26 when they had finished their ground footage and had the opportunity to go up in the helicopter.
For Detty Outdoor's editor Shane Yamamoto, it was his first time out in the field for filming -- and, according to Detty, it might be his last after this terrifying ordeal.
Jeron Detty and Shane Yamamoto with Detty Outdoors before heading up into the helicopter. (Photo: Double Lung Outdoors/Facebook)
"We had just come up out of one of the canyons...when a gust of wind blew," Detty told TheBlaze in a phone interview.
The gust of wind was all it took to drop the chopper from about 150 feet to 70 feet, sending it out of control. At first, Detty said he wasn't sure if the pilot had dropped on purpose. It was when he saw the power lines that he knew they were in trouble.
"I turned on my camera when I knew we were going to crash," he said.
Notice how close the helicopter shadow is to the ground at this point. The top right frame is the camera held by Detty. (Image via YouTube video screenshot)
After the bottom fell out, the pilot went "full throttle" trying to give the helicopter some lift to keep it out of the power lines.
"At the last minute it just turned 90 degrees and slammed into the ground," Detty recalled.
Just before hitting. (Image via YouTube video screenshot)
Detty, who you'll remember didn't have the protection of a door, grabbed onto the seat and tried to lean as far away from impact as possible.
"It hit my side first and then it rolled," he said.
Different camera angles show what the perspective after the helicopter crashed. (Image via YouTube video screenshot)
It was only 20 to 30 seconds from the time when the wind initially offset the helicopter to the crash.
After impact, those injured started groaning and crying for help. Detty, who after returning to Ohio would learn he suffered a concussion, was relatively unscathed and as a former police officer went into crisis management mode.
"Once we hit, my instinct was to get everybody out in the chance there was a fire," he said.
First, Detty freed the pilot, who also didn't seem too injured, in case he had to perform certain safety measures on the chopper. Detty then helped Yamamoto and Lacock.
"Just relax, take a deep breath," Detty says in the video.
Lacock's hand had become trapped between the door and the ground, while Yamamoto was suspended from his belt above her, with a camera hanging from his neck. Lacock broke a finger and Yamamoto broke four ribs.
Becky Lou Lacock in the hospital after she was treated for a fractured knuckle. (Photo: Double Lung Outdoors/Facebook)
When you watch the footage, take note how tense it is as you see the shadow of the helicopter coming closer and closer to ground before impact.
The footage is broken into frames showing different camera angles, but when the top right frame comes online, that's the camera Detty turned on when he realized they were going down. The bottom right frame shows Detty as he works to help those trapped in the crash.
Watch the footage:
After realizing the helicopter was not going to burst into flames, Detty, always a videographer, went back to recover his equipment.
"We were all blessed to walk away from this accident," Detty wrote in the video description. "The pilot did a wonderful job at keeping us safe and we walked away with minor injuries."