Pilot: Helicopter engine failed before crash

Photo Courtesy: East Montgomery County Fire Department Facebook

NEW CANEY, Texas (AP) The pilot of a homebuilt helicopter that crashed on a rain-softened grassy area in Texas says the engine sputtered and quit before the accident.

Danny Whitten of Porter, Texas, told The Associated Press that he's not sure why the engine failed before Saturday's crash in New Caney, 25 miles northeast of Houston.

Whitten says he was alone on the two-person rotorcraft and suffered minor bruises.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the accident happened as the rotorcraft attempted to make an emergency landing.

FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford says the aircraft struck a tree while trying to land.

Emergency responders found the aircraft on its side.

Whitten, who's associated with Southwest Gyroplanes, says he flew to Cleveland, Texas, and was returning to Anahuac where the chopper is based. He was cruising at about 95 mph, at an altitude of 1,500 feet, when the engine died.

Whitten says the rotorcraft was built in 2016.