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Pilot in North Manchester helicopter crash declared brain dead: Allen County coroner’s office

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NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - A representative of the Allen County coroner's office says the pilot of a small helicopter that crashed in a farm field was declared brain dead Monday.

The spokesperson says that is the criteria used for determining if death has occurred.

Federal investigators are working to nail down the cause of a helicopter crash in Wabash County Sunday.

The pilot is identified as 76-year old Theodore "Ted" Oldfather.

Oldfather had been rushed to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne Sunday evening after the one-seat helicopter he was piloting went down in a field on his farm property about a mile and a half west of North Manchester.

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, and National Transportation Safety Board are working to determine what went wrong.

The one-seat lightweight "rotorcraft" crashed after 6 pm Sunday on what appeared to be a grass airstrip.

Investigators hoped to be able to speak to any witnesses that might shed light on a cause.

The farmer had been a flying enthusiast for close to 50 years.

"It's what he lived for is flying. It's really fun to see him, he always got excited about flying, and even when he couldn't fly he'd say, talk about how nice of a day it was, he'd be like, man, I'd like to be flying today," said Carson Fingerle, who works with Oldfather's son.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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