Helicopter crash victims' names released, remain critical

Thursday, July 21, 2011
Township police have identified the two people injured in Wednesday’s helicopter crash as pilot Edwin Eilbacher, 27, of Hillsborough and photographer Julia Armstrong-Robertson, 44, of Newark, Del.

Both were listed in critical condition in the surgical intensive care unit at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick late Thursday afternoon.

The accident was reported to South Brunswick Police Department by numerous 911 calls at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. The crash was approximately 100 feet behind the Indian Fields Elementary School on the property of Medicia Pharmaceuticals. Witnesses described the helicopter circling the area once prior to crashing.

The Monmouth Junction Fire Department, South Brunswick EMS paramedics, Middlesex County Hazmat and New Jersey State Police Medevac responded to the crash. The accident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board after initially being handled by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The helicopter was owned by Nassau Helicopters out of Princeton Airport in Montgomery. It was hired by Armstrong-Robertson for a photo shoot over the Dayton section of South Brunswick. Armstrong-Robertson owns Aero-Imaging Inc. (www.aeroimaginginc.com) out of Delaware. She is a freelance photographer for the Associated Press and Gannett newspapers.

When the helicopter hit the ground in an open field behind the school, workers who were tarring the school’s roof rushed to help and pulled the occupants from the craft, fearing an explosion if there was spilled fuel. Armstrong-Robertson was taken by State Police Medevac helicopter to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. The pilot was transported there by South Brunswick EMS.

There were no injuries to anyone on the ground and the school had no students in it at the time of the crash.

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