Two Atlanta police officers were killed on Saturday when their helicopter crashed near a shopping center. There were no other injuries reported.
Federal investigators reported that the police helicopter hit the top of power line pole, and its support cables before it crashed on a busy city street, killing two officers on board.
These officers were in search of a 9-year-old run away, who was later found unharmed.
NTSB investigator Ralph Hicks said Sunday witnesses heard the helicopter and saw a flash of light when it hit the pole. He says part of the chopper’s landing gear was caught in the support cables, and the power company had to help authorities get it down.
The wreckage of the OH-6A had already been moved as investigators piece together what happened, said Eric M. Weiss, a spokesman with the National Transportation Safety Board.
Atlanta’s police are referring questions about the crash to federal investigators.
Bystander Darryl James, 42, told the AP that he had gone with a companion to a check-cashing store Saturday night when he heard the helicopter flying overhead and thought it was rather low.
“The tail end went down and then there was an explosion,” James said. He said he tried to get close to the wreckage. “As soon as I got close enough to it, poom! It exploded.” He added of the helicopter’s occupants: “They could not survive it.”
“Losing an officer is the most difficult thing a police chief can face,” Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said in a news release. “Losing two is an unthinkable tragedy. Our hearts go out to the families of these officers, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”