A tragic accident in a local vineyard Wednesday morning where an agriculture helicopter crashed and killed the pilot, a woman in her 60's.
Authorities said it happened between McComb and Quality Roads around 6 a.m.
According to the Kern County Sheriff's Department the helicopter that crashed was one of three helicopters sent out last night for frost prevention in an orchard, a common practice on chilly nights.
"What you are trying to do is bring the warm air that's up a little higher down to the citrus to protect it from the cold air," said Jon Zaninovich owner, Jasmin Vineyards where the helicopter crashed.
Authorities said the flight went smoothly until the return trip when one of the helicopters saw another go down in dense fog around 6 a.m.
"At the time visibility was very limited the fog was pretty thick this morning," said Ray Pruitt of the Kern County Sheriff's Department.
The helicopter was a San Joaquin Jet Ranger 206, a large chopper. Crews searched for more than three hours finding the helicopter at 9:50 a.m. in a field of table grapes.
"When it's foggy out here, it's foggy," said Zaninovich.
"We had taken the pilot who had witnessed the crash up into our helicopter and he assisted with the search," said Pruitt.
Zaninovich said he had workers pruning nearby but thankfully they didn't get hurt. Unfortunately authorities couldn't say the same about the pilot.
"Not a great way to start the New Year of course. It's just an unfortunate accident," said Zaninovich.
Tthe cause of the crash is not yet known but farmers out here said it has to be the fog.
"When the fog gets out here it's dangerous in driving and flying conditions," said Zaninovich.
FAA investigators were on scene Wednesday. The NTSB is expected to arrive Thursday but they won't likely release a cause for a couple of weeks.