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A $1200 chopper rescue flight? 9Wants to Know looks into viral video

9:46 PM, Sep 17, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - A video circulating on social media sites has a lot of you asking 9Wants to Know to check out a man who is heard on video quoting $1,200 for a rescue flight out of flood areas.

The video shows a man, later identified as Dennis Pierce, telling another man he could take out two people for the price of $1,200.

9Wants to Know learned Pierce is the co-owner of Colorado Heli Ops, a company that provides scenic tours and flying lessons. On his company's website, flights are advertised for "just $200."

Pierce declined to speak to 9Wants to Know on camera but agreed to be quoted.

Pierce said he wasn't rescuing people, but was taking aerial flood photos of utilities for a company. A woman flagged him down from the air, according to Pierce, and he and his partner landed to see if she needed help.

Pierce claims as the woman was asking to see if he could check on her parents, the man with the camera became agitated when he learned Pierce's chopper wasn't there to fly people out.

Pierce claims he threw out a high price hoping to get rid of the man who was pestering him about flying people out.

"When I said $1,200, I was trying to figure out a way to shut the guy up," Pierce told 9Wants to Know. "I was trying to get him away from us because he made me nervous."

The man behind the camera, Richard Lake, eventually got out safe. The Estes Park resident claimed he did need an emergency evacuation that day.

"I told him that my hand is swollen, and I need medical attention, and this is an emergency," Lake said. "I need you to bring me across the river, so I can at least get a police officer."

Pierce calls the whole incident unfortunate and says his company checked on the woman's parents free of charge.

He also claims the woman and Lake had plenty of water and food and didn't seem like they were in the middle of a serious emergency.

Have a comment or tip for investigative reporter Jeremy Jojola? Call him at 303-871-1425 or e-mail him
jeremy.jojola@9news.com

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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