North Carolina lottery winner walks away from fiery helicopter crash



A North Carolina man is OK after his small aircraft hit a tree and burst into flames Wednesday.

Timothy Kneiss' Mosquito XE mini-helicopter was hovering above private property in a Lincoln County neighborhood when the tail rotor hit a tree, causing the aircraft to catch fire, federal investigators said.

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Kneiss and his wife won $100,000 on a $10 scratch-off lottery ticket last fall, according to The Gaston Gazette.

Neighbors told WSOC that Kneiss just bought the helicopter a few weeks ago and struggled with it while practicing in his front yard, only getting it a few feet off the ground.

“I knew it was going to go down,” neighbor John Aubery said. “You don’t see somebody bouncing a helicopter around the yard and think, ‘Oh, this guy is going to make it.’ ... If I had a helicopter, I wouldn’t fly it into a tree, myself, but he chose to and I respect his rights for his property.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the accident.

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