Copter pilot recovering in hospital
A Bowdoinham pilot who crashed a helicopter in Burnham on Wednesday sustained injuries that are not lifethreatening and is recovering in a Portland hospital.
Ed Friedman, 58, and his passenger Lisa Bates, 27, both survived the accident in dense woods. Burnham is located at the western edge of Waldo County, bordering Pittsfield.
Friedman underwent surgery Friday at Maine Medical Center and is in fair condition, a hospital spokesperson said.
Bates, a Unity College alumna working on a black bear study, was able to walk away from the wreckage. She hiked about a half mile to Winnecook Road and flagged down a motorist, who called 911.
Friedman is chairman of the preservation group Friends of Merrymeeting Bay and an activist lawyer who has filed lawsuits against the state and Central Maine Power Co. regarding their approval of “smart meters” for all Maine residential accounts.
The Federal Aviation Administration has referred the investigation to the National Transportation Safety Board, which has yet to determine the cause.
Jim Peters of the FAA’s public affairs office in New York said the FAA turns investigations over to the NTSB if injuries are severe or if damage to the machine are substantial — the latter being the case in the Burnham accident.
The flight was provided by LightHawk, which offers free flying services for conservation efforts around the country.
C. Rudy Engholm, executive director of LightHawk, said from his Cumberland Foreside office that LightHawk serves as a matchmaker — engaging qualified volunteer pilots to donate flights to the conservation organizations that could benefit from those flights.
“We vet both the pilots and the projects, and LightHawk maintains the most stringent qualification standards of all of the public benefit flying groups,” Engholm said in an email. “This is the first accident we’ve had in the 10 years I’ve been involved with the organization as a volunteer pilot, board member, and executive director.”
Engholm said he did not know what caused the accident.
“When something like this happens, we think of these pilots and passengers as part of the LightHawk family,” he continued. “It is like having a family member injured. Our hearts go out to the peo- ple affected by this accident.
“We understand that the passenger Lisa Bates was treated at a local hospital and released later in the evening last Wednesday. I spoke with her a couple of days ago, and she told me she was sore, but doing fairly well. I also met with the pilot, who is recovering from surgery for some fractures.”
¦ ED FRIEDMAN, 58, and his passenger Lisa Bates, 27, both survived the accident in dense woods. Burnham is located at the western edge of Waldo County, bordering Pittsfield.