Body of 9-year-old boy recovered from crash site

Monday, May 26, 2008 | 5:31 p.m. CDT; updated 1:51 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

SUNRISE BEACH — Divers have found a 9-year-old boy who had been missing after a helicopter carrying him and four others crashed into the water at the Lake of the Ozarks.

The Missouri State Water Patrol reported that the boy, identified as Zachary West of Eureka, was found about 10 a.m. Monday.

The boy’s body was still inside the helicopter when it was recovered, according to the water patrol. It was taken to a Camdenton funeral home.

The water patrol finished pulling the helicopter from the water by early afternoon Monday.

The crash happened after the helicopter began spinning uncontrollably about 7:20 p.m. Sunday while flying in for a landing at a residence. It then rolled into the water. The crash occurred at the 15-mile marker of the main channel of the Lake of the Ozarks, according to the water patrol.

The man operating the helicopter, 50-year-old Keith Baker, was able to escape. Three passengers also made it to safety: 24-year-old Anna Bierman and Nick Baker and Michael Barth, both 13.

The group in the helicopter was returning from a short sightseeing tour when the accident occurred.

The Federal Aviation Administration was called upon to investigate the accident. Investigators were urging boaters to avoid the crash area Monday.

Divers resumed looking for the boy about 5:30 a.m. Monday. They searched in 30 to 40 feet of water, using sonar equipment.

The relationship of the boy to the others on the helicopter was not immediately known.

Bierman is from Macks Creek and the Bakers from Sunrise Beach. The Barth teen’s residence was not immediately known, according to the water patrol.

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