The tail of a helicopter broke off during a hard landing at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday (March 14) in a field near Eagle Nest.

Assistant Moreno Valley Fire Department Chief Craig Sime said that neither one of the two people onboard the aircraft were injured in the accident, which occurred near the village boundary northeast of Therma Way and Iron Queen Drive.

Village of Eagle Nest employee Amarante Tafoya said he was checking a road in the area when the helicopter came down.

“It just sounded like an engine cut out, and it just smoothly came down and hit the ground,” he said.

Tafoya estimated that the helicopter fell about 10 feet, and he said the tail broke off while it was still in the air.

“They were kind of sputtering, and then they got to their lowest point and they just cut out and landed right there,” he said.

The New Mexico State Police took control of the scene at about 4 p.m. Thursday.

The helicopter is registered to Global Positioning Services, Inc. of Anchorage, Alaska, according to a search of the aircraft’s N number on the Federal Aviation Administration website.

The helicopter accident came less than two weeks after four people died in a single-engine airplane crash March 3 in Angel Fire, which is about 10 miles south of Eagle Nest.

Go to for updates or see the March 21-27 edition of the Sangre de Cristo Chronicle for more on this story.

(1) comment

Dave Johnson

Robinson's don't rate very high by my standards but I have never heard of one losing its tail boom in a hard landing. It would stand to reason that a sputtering engine had a fuel issue but mags, vacuum and a few other possibilities also come to mind. It will be interesting to see what the FAA and NTSB reports say.

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