Investigators comb the shore of King Lake, east of Jordan Road near Arlington, following a helicopter crash Tuesday that sent two men to the hospital with serious injuries. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Investigators comb the shore of King Lake, east of Jordan Road near Arlington, following a helicopter crash Tuesday that sent two men to the hospital with serious injuries. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Man rows to the rescue after helicopter slams into lake

He used a dinghy to help two seriously injured men get to shore at remote King Lake near Arlington.

ARLINGTON — A helicopter crashed into a lake south of Arlington on Tuesday, sending two men to the hospital.

The pilot was in critical condition, said spokeswoman Courtney O’Keefe with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

A passenger had serious injuries but was expected to survive.

Neighbors living near King Lake, a remote body of water in the woods east of Jordan Road north of Granite Falls, heard a strange noise around 1 p.m. as the helicopter took off. It was airborne for only about a minute, O’Keefe said.

Jeffrey Abrams saw the helicopter fly over the trees and across the water.

The private pilot regularly flies in the area, he said. Sometimes he will slow down and hover over the lake. This time, he was moving fast.

The helicopter flew unusually low. Abrams saw the skids hit the water, and the entire aircraft dove in.

“It was a significantly loud bang, almost like an explosion,” he said.

The injured passenger was able to swim away from the wreckage. However, the pilot was unconscious in the middle of the lake, Abrams said.

Abrams’ wife, Lillie, called 911 while he snagged life jackets and oars from their shed. He climbed into a dinghy and rowed out to the injured pilot. At that point, the helicopter was completely submerged.

Abrams was able to help both men back to shore.

Tuesday wasn’t the first time the couple has called for help after someone found themselves in trouble on the lake. Last year, a man in his 50s drowned after his canoe overturned.

The Department of Ecology sent crews to evaluate any fuel spills from Tuesday’s crash. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what caused the wreck.

Photographer Ian Terry contributed to this story.

Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192;

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Voting Commissioners of the Washington State Redistricting Commission released draft Legislative District maps Tuesday. (Washington State Redistricting Commission)
Early maps of legislative districts endanger some incumbents

Under one redistricting proposal, Mill Creek joins Everett. Under another, Monroe joins Wenatchee.

Callie Childers 20210921
Car of slain Marysville woman was set on fire

Her body was found along a remote stretch of U.S. 2, east of Stevens Pass. Her car was found near Snohomish.

Man found dead in Mountlake Terrace homeless camp identified

Oscar Banos Mejia, 40, was discovered in the bushes along the Interurban Trail on Friday afternoon.

Police respond to a crash in which Isaiah Funden, 24, of Marysville, died after his motorcycle collided with a car Monday morning on the Snohomish River Bridge. (Everett Police Department)
Motorcyclist who died in Everett bridge crash identified

The Marysville man, 24, was involved in a collision with a car and ejected into the Snohomish River.

New Snohomish County task force aims to stop youth suicide

The Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force was formed last April. Members hope to educate the public.

Tuesday's career fair will be at Everett Community College, which incidentally is also one of the participants. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Snohomish County Career Fair set for Tuesday at EvCC

Job seekers can connect with more than 40 employers at this year’s annual event.

Brenda Mann Harrison
It applies to journalism, too: Take care of what you value

The Herald’s first news development director says her dad’s advice about material things is a transferable lesson.

Jason Thompson (Marysville School District)
Agreed: Absent Marysville superintendent will resign in 2022

Jason Thompson, meanwhile, will not work and will be paid $21,630 per month through June 30.

Most Read