Evening in Hillsborough County diverted from its normally quiet path this past Monday after an unusual event ended in a 9-1-1 call and emergency response crews rushing to a home located in the Tampa area. According to a statement from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, they received a call sometime after 5:00 in the evening from a man identifying himself as Bradley Bates, a 51-year-old who comes from an undisclosed residence. The statement goes on to describe in some detail just what occurred on Monday to result in Bates calling 9-1-1, however there are numerous details that are not supplied in the case.
It appears that Bates is a person who delights in making things. Recently, Bates finished building his own helicopter. While it is not known whether or not Bates’ homemade helicopter was licensed in any way or if he took off legally from his departing location, it is clear that the helicopter worked marvelously. At least for a little while. Details are not clear, but the evidence suggests that Bates lost control of the helicopter somewhere over a residential area. Whether this was due to weather concerns that were beyond his control or some flaw with his aircraft is not known.
Trying to prevent as much damage as possible, Bates navigated the helicopter away from power lines, traffic, and pedestrians. For the most part, he was able to adequately maneuver his craft as it dropped from the sky. It is unclear if this was intentional on his part, but the final resting place of the malfunctioning helicopter was the roof of a private residence. It could be that this roof was the only clearly flat area around and that Bates felt that his helicopter would cause the least amount of damage to himself and the surrounding area if landed there.
Regardless, Bates and his helicopter landed somewhat unsteadily on the roof, with the result that the helicopter fell onto its side. Bates dialed 9-1-1 and was taken to a nearby hospital by the responding emergency services. According to the official statement, he was in stable condition when admitted to the hospital, although it was not clear in the statement whether he suffered from any injuries as a result of the crash.
The investigation into this incident is currently underway, with the National Transportation Safety Board working conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration to determine just what occurred to cause this alarming crash.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
Connect with James O. Cunningham on Google+