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Pilot injured in Grant County helicopter crash

A man was injured this morning after a helicopter he was piloting crashed into a cherry orchard in Grant County.

A release from the Grant County Sheriff’s office said 31-year-old Christopher Iezzoni, of Tumwater, suffered back injuries and was having trouble breathing. He was transported by ambulance to Quincy Valley Medical Center.

The release said Iezzoni was flying a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter around 7:45 a.m. over an orchard near County Roads 9 and M-Southwest, between Royal City and George.

He crashed when the helicopter became tangled in bird control netting over the orchard. He was able to extricate himself from the helicopter.

“Helicopter rotor wash is often used to blow water off of cherries in an effort to keep the fruit from splitting open after rainfall,” the release said.