Home News Two officers perish in helicopter crash, believed to have hit power lines

Two officers perish in helicopter crash, believed to have hit power lines

Sgt. Lee Russell – West Tennessee Drug Task Force

Jessica Schladebeck

New York Daily News

A pair of law enforcement officers were killed when their helicopter struck a powerline and then crashed in a wooded area in Tennessee.

Highway Patrol Capt. Travis Plotzer identified the victims only as a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer and a Marion County deputy sheriff. They were the only two people onboard the helicopter, a Bell 206B, when it hit powerlines Tuesday on Aetna Mountain near Whiteside, toppling them onto Interstate 24, officials said.

The incident temporarily stalled traffic along the highway, which has since been fully reopened.

“Today is a very tragic day for law enforcement,” Plotzer said.

Dan Hostetler, who was driving in the area at the time, told WVLT-TV he saw a black helicopter flying in circles just before the deadly crash.

“It kind of dipped a little bit and waggled a little bit then there was a bright flash of light and puff of smoke and it hit one of the power lines that went across the highway, and sure enough the power lines started gliding down toward me and all I could think was it’s going to land on top of me,” Hostetler said. “I slammed on the brakes and stopped about two car lengths from the line.”

The National Transportation and Safety Board is investigating the incident.

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