Survivor of panhandle helicopter crash upgraded to 'fair condition'

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Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 9:15 am | Updated: 9:30 am, Tue Feb 11, 2014.

PANACEA, Fla. (WTXL) -- The lone survivor of a weekend helicopter crash has been upgraded to 'fair condition'. 

Sheri Devore, 46 of Tallahassee, was among three people on board the Tallahassee Helicopters Robinson R-44 helicopter when it crashed early Saturday evening. 

The pilot, Terry Ooten, and a second passenger, Curtis Robert Clifford, were both killed.

A spokeswoman with Tallahassee Memorial Hospital told WTXL ABC27 Monday morning that Devore has been upgraded to fair condition.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are trying to determine the cause of the crash.

Deputies with the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office says the helicopter crashed after hitting trees and power lines as it was taking off Saturday evening from the Wakulla County Airport in Panacea.

The three were on their way back to Tallahassee after having dinner at Angelo and Son's restaurant.

"I drove them up there and we conversed all the way about the changes in the county, what they had to eat, how their lives were and how my life was," said Angeline Petrandis, an owner of Angelo and Son's restaurant.

Petrandis told WTXL ABC27's Jade Bulecza that she heard the news of the crash after getting back to the restaurant.

"One of the ladies who worked here came out running and said somebody's scanner said there was helicopter crash and it just rocked me because I knew it had to be them," said Petrandis.

She jumped in her truck and and found Devore on the ground.

Devore was taken to the hospital but the pilot Terry Ooten and Curtis Clifford were killed. The helicopter is registered to Tallahassee Helicopters. The owner of the company Dr. Thomas Diefenbach was a good friend of Ooten's.

"He was a very a generous person and he's really beloved by so many people in the community," said Dr. Diefenbach.

He remembers the trips they took together.

"We went to California to for the Robinson helicopter safety course which really helps to make pilots better pilots. Terry always strived to be the best pilot he could be."

It's those memories he'll cherish forever and he's praying for the families and that Devore will have a speedy recovery.

The helicopter was owned by Tallahassee Helicopters and was used by WTXL ABC27 for aerial coverage of news stories. The helicopter was not being used by WTXL ABC27 at the time of the accident. None of the people on the helicopter are employed by the station.

Our thoughts are with the families impacted by this tragic accident.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE: February 9, 2014

PANACEA, Fla. (WTXL)--Family and friends are mourning the loss of two people killed in a helicopter crash in Panacea.

The National Transportation Safety Board says the Robinson R-44 helicopter hit trees and power lines after taking off from the Wakulla County Airport.

Two investigators from NTSB were on the scene Sunday as well as the Federal Aviation Administration.

The chopper crashed into a wooded, marshy area near the airport Saturday night.

We have reaction from the person who spoke with the two passengers and pilot minutes before the crash.

People go to Angelo and Son's for the seafood and the view. Saturday night's visit was no different for three friends.

Curtis Robert Clifford, Sheri Devore, and Terry Ooten traveled from Tallahassee to Panacea by helicopter Saturday night, following dinner one of the restaurant owners took them back to the Wakulla County Airport so they could fly home.

"I drove them up there and we conversed all the way about the changes in the county, what they had to eat, how their lives were and how my life was," said Angeline Petrandis, an owner of Angelo and Son's restaurant.

She says after she got back to the restaurant she heard the news.

"One of the ladies who worked here came out running and said somebody's scanner said there was helicopter crash and it just rocked me because I knew it had to be them," said Petrandis.

She jumped in her truck and and found Devore on the ground.

Devore was taken to the hospital but the pilot Terry Ooten and Curtis Clifford were killed. The helicopter is registered to Tallahassee Helicopters. The owner of the company Dr. Thomas Diefenbach was a good friend of Ooten's.

"He was a very a generous person and he's really beloved by so many people in the community," said Dr. Diefenbach.

He remembers the trips they took together.

"We went to California to for the Robinson helicopter safety course which really helps to make pilots better pilots. Terry always strived to be the best pilot he could be."

It's those memories he'll cherish forever and he's praying for the families and that Devore will have a speedy recovery.

Here's a press release from Tallahassee Helicopters:

TALLAHASSEE, FL--We, at Tallahassee Helicopters, are shocked and deeply hurt to hear of the tragic accident last night. On Saturday afternoon Terry Ooten, who has been a long

time customer and close friend to all of us at Tallahassee Helicopters, rented the helicopter to fly with two of his close friends to have dinner at a restaurant in Panacea. The accident occurred as they were taking off to return to Tallahassee

from Wakulla Airport, taking the life of Terry and his friend Curtis Clifford. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those two families and friends. We also join with all others in concern for the recovery of Sheri Devore. Tallahassee Helicopters is collaborating with the FAA and the NTSB in their investigations.

UPDATE: February 8, 2014 11:38 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Two people are dead after a helicopter crash in Panacea.

One person survived but at this time, their condition is unknown.

Deputies with the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office are on the scene of the crash.

They say it happened around eight p.m. They believe the helicopter clipped some trees before crashing in a marshy wooded area near the airport in Pancea. 

The sheriff's office originally stated the pilot was 53-year old Curtis Robert Clifford, but now they have learned Clifford was a passenger and 49-year old Terry Bryan Ooten was the pilot.  They were both killed. Another passenger 45-year old Sheri Noelle Devore survived. 

The helicopter was owned by Tallahassee Helicopters.

WTXL partners with the company to gather video of news events.

The helicopter was not flying for our purposes Saturday. Tallahassee Helicopters uses the aircraft for training as well as rentals.

Deputies tell us the three flew the helicopters to eat at a restaurant in Panacea.

The crash happened as they were leaving. Our thoughts and prayers our with the families involved.

Here's more information from the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office:

At approximately 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 two Tallahassee men were killed in a helicopter crash at the Wakulla County Airport in Panacea. A Tallahassee woman was injured and transported to a Tallahassee hospital with unknown injuries by medical helicopter.

The three individuals were on their way back to Tallahassee after eating at a local restaurant. The helicopter clipped a tree limb and crashed and landed on its top. The tree limb took down a power line which hampered emergency worker efforts until the line could be turned off. The helicopter landed in a wooded and marshy area near the airport.

The FAA and NTSB will be called to the scene to continue the investigation. The emergency call was answered by FHP, the Ochlockonee Bay VFD, Wakulla Firefighters and the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office.

The helicopter was owned by Tallahassee Helicopter and was used for video footage for news stories for WTXL Channel 27. The helicopter was not being used by WTXL at the time the accident took place. None of the people on the helicopter are employees of the television station.

February 8, 2014 8:37 p.m.

PANACEA, Fla. (WTXL)--A helicopter crash in Panacea kills two people. 

The Wakulla County Sheriff's Office says one person survived. The person's condition is unknown. Deputies say the helicopter is owned by Tallahassee Helicopters.

Deputies believe the helicopter clipped some trees limbs in a marshy, wooded area around 8 p.m. near the airport.

The cause is under investigation. We have a crew headed to the scene and will have updates tonight on the news at 11.

 

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