Real Estate Agents, 'Finest Hours' Author Pitch In For Chopper Crash Victim

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Police, Fire And Harbormaster News

Tyra Pacheco and pilot John Ryan both suffered multiple serious injuries in the June 17 crash. COURTESY PHOTO

CHATHAM The feature film “The Finest Hours” is a tale of survival against tall odds. So it's appropriate that a special Sept. 15 showing of the film will be raising money for Tyra Pacheco, who survived a June 17 helicopter crash near Crow's Pond.

“The fact that she survived is a miracle unto itself,” said Casey Sherman, co-author of the book that became the Disney movie. Working with a group of local real estate agents, Sherman is helping to organize the Sept. 15 screening at the Chatham Orpheum Theatre. Tickets are $50, and all of the proceeds will benefit Pacheco, who faces medical bills from what is likely to be long-term physical rehabilitation.

The screening starts at 7 p.m., and includes a silent auction, hors d'oeuvres and “Finest Hours Beer” from Cape Cod Beer and Wine, and a behind-the-scenes movie question and answer session with Sherman. There will also be a short preview of Sherman's newest film, Patriot's Day.

“It all goes to Tyra, so we hope to pack the place on the 15th,” Sherman said. For tickets, click here.

Pacheco is a real estate photographer who was in a helicopter piloted by John Ryan of Scituate when the accident happened. Both were gravely injured and have begun long periods of recuperation. Online donation sites have been established for both Ryan and Pacheco.

“The real estate community is coming together to support one of our own,” said Kathy Forrester of Kinlin Grover Real Estate. On the day of the accident, Pacheco was in the air on behalf of one of their clients, Forrester said. But she was well known for her photography and had worked extensively with other local real estate agencies, including Robert Paul Properties and Pine Acres Realty.

“It was a shock for all of us,” said Chris Rhinesmith of Pine Acres. “Kyra's just a fabulous person.”

Other sponsors of the event include the Bistro on Main, The Chatham Wayside Inn, Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, Truro Vineyards and Spire Printing. 

Rhinesmith said it's clear that Pacheco faces a long ordeal of rehabilitation.

“I've talked to her husband, and he is working through physical therapy,” he said. “Her progress is at least as good as anyone could've hoped for, if not better.” While she is still largely confined to a hospital bed, she has had several surgeries and is now able to stand for a short time. According to an online post from her daughter, she hopes to eventually resume her career. Rhinesmith described Pacheco as a fighter.

“My money's on her,” he said.

For his part, Sherman said he worked with Pacheco in the spring when he was writing a magazine article about real estate.

“I got to know her a little bit, and sometime shortly thereafter she was involved in this horrific helicopter crash,” he said.

According to the preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot was forced to land at the edge of the pond after the helicopter experienced a total loss of engine power. Two witnesses reported that the helicopter had been flying low for several minutes, just above trees over the properties being photographed. Both witnesses then heard the aircraft's engine sputter or stall, and then saw the pilot make a landing that looked like “a controlled crash.” The helicopter came to rest on its left side at the edge of Crow's Pond, and both Pacheco and Ryan had to be extricated from the wreck.

Sherman said he's inspired about the community support they've received.

“It reminds me an awful lot of how the community rallied around Bernie Webber” and his crew after the Pendleton rescue, he said.