Rescuers searching for downed helicopter near Delano

UPDATE: Eyewitness reported the helicopter made an extreme bank before going down in an area near a cold storage unit shortly before 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Sheriff's deputies and county firefighters were still searching for the wreckage of a helicopter, that went down between McFarland and Delano Wednesday morning.

Rescuers combed the area near Kyte Ave. and Whisler Rd. The Sheriff's Department and County Fire Department each launched its helicopter to search the area.

But as of 9:45 a.m. no crash site had been located.  Foggy conditions made the search difficult.

San Joaquin Helicopters reported two of its helicopters were performing frost protection when one its aircraft went down shortly after 6 a.m.   During cold weather the helicopters move warmer air down onto threatened crops, the company states on its Website.  The pilot of the second helicopter called authorities, saying he saw the downed aircraft make an unusually steep maneuver before crashing in a flash and cloud of smoke.  Subsequent calls to the downed pilot's cellphone went unanswered.

17 News reporter Chris Pavlish and photojournalist Ley Vaughn are in the area, and will have more information on 17 News at Noon.
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