UPDATE: Helicopter crash victim identified

Posted on 17 October 2018 at 9:14pm

CALLAWAY COUNTY - The man killed in a helicopter crash east of Fulton on Wednesday has been identified as Charles Prather, 47, of St. Peter's, according to the Callaway County Sheriff's Office. 

Deputies were called to a crash near County Road 101 and County Road 108 at 2:28 p.m. 

Chris Banks lives close by and saw the helicopter go down.

"Looked away and heard the rotor stop, and then I looked back up and it just fell," he said.

Banks immediately ran inside his home and called 911. Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism said multiple witnesses called in about seeing a helicopter in distress.

Banks said the sounds, more than the sights, let him know something was wrong.

"It sounded like when you drop a piece of glass on the floor, kind of that shattering sound," he said.

The helicopter was found after an extensive 45-minute search in a remote area north of Bartley Lane.  

The sheriff's office said the search included the Fulton Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri Department of Conservation, Central Callaway Fire Protection District, Callaway County EMS and the Staff for Life helicopter.

Chism said there are difficulties navigating the area around the crash site.

"It's an off-road park. There are a lot of creeks, there's hills, rutted out areas. It's a very, very rough terrain," Chism said. "At this point we're mainly accessing it by UTV and ATV."

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will be arriving in Callaway County on Thursday to take over the investigation.