Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 17, 2004

ND surgeon OK after crash landing near Winsted

By Ryan Gueningsman

A North Dakota orthopedic surgeon is doing well following crash landing his helicopter in a field several miles north of Lester Prairie along Zebra Avenue Wednesday just before noon.

Gary Alan Matthys, 36, originally from Argusville, ND, is at his home in Fargo, ND, and doing well, according to his mother Jan Matthys.

“He’s a very lucky boy,” Jan said. He has been flying a helicopter for about a year and was flying from Fargo, ND to Rochester, she said.

From interviewing eyewitnesses and Gary Matthys himself, it appears that the helicopter was having mechanical failure, said McLeod County Chief Deputy Mark Taylor. “He (Matthys) was struggling to keep the helicopter in the air and realized he would have to bring it down somewhere. I’m sure he tried to minimize the crash.”

Matthys was flying a 1991 Robinson R22 Beta Helicopter, according to the sheriff’s department. The field that he crash landed in is literally several yards from the McLeod/Carver County line.

“That road right there is the county line,” Taylor said. “If it would have landed on the east side of the road it would have been in Carver County.”

The Lester Prairie Fire and Police Departments, New Germany Fire Department, Winsted Police Department, along with McLeod County and Federal Aviation Administration officials investigated and assisted at the crash site.

“He (Matthys) would like to thank the people who took the time to help him – especially the lady who saw it and stayed with him until the ambulance came,” Jan Matthys said. “He was disoriented and didn’t get anybody’s name. He’s got a great reputation here in town – he’s just a gentle man who loves his work.”

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