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Two people have died following mid-air collision between plane and helicopter in Chandler

Chandler Mid-Air collision
Posted at 8:12 AM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 18:15:41-04

CHANDLER — Crews are on scene of a mid-air collision between a plane and a helicopter in Chandler that left two people dead.

The incident occurred sometime around 7:30 a.m. Friday morning when a fixed-wing airplane collided with a helicopter, according to the Chandler Fire Department.

Officials provided an update to the situation Friday morning. Watch in the player below.

Officials say the plane landed safely in the middle of the runway, but the helicopter crashed and caught fire.

A total of two people on board the helicopter have died following the crash, according to officials.

The victims have been identified as 34-year-old Michael Papendick and 27-year-old Jessica Brandal.

Michael Papendick
Michael Papendick captured with daughter.

Chandler Airport is closed for takeoffs and landings and is expected to remain closed into the afternoon.

Witnesses tell ABC15 it started off as a normal day near the Chandler Municipal Airport.

Tyler Detwiler is a student pilot who trains at the Chandler Airport.

He says he was doing a preflight inspection with his instructor when the crash happened.

“The helicopter went down really fast. They did collide in the air. The plane I know for sure was on final to land, so it was just about to be landing,” Detwiler told ABC15.

That’s when he says the helicopter started spinning out of control.

“As soon as it hit the ground it was quick. It was a quick fireball,” he added.

Detwiler says after this happened, he saw the plane land on the runway.

Matthew Trent also saw the crash.

He was in the area to inquire about pilot training and was driving when it happened.

“It looked like the landing gear caught one of the rotors, broke the rotor off, chopped the fuselage in half, took its tail off and then...helicopter went straight down,” said Trent.

There is no official word yet on what led up to the collision.

Anyone with video of the incident is asked to contact Chandler police at 480-782-4130.