NC highway patrol helicopter crashes in Wake County, officials say

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — A North Carolina State Highway Patrol helicopter crashed Sunday afternoon in Wake County, officials said.

No injuries were reported in the crash, which happened just after 2 p.m. near the intersection of Garner Road and East Tryon Road, according to North Carolina State Highway Patrol Master Trooper Chris Knox.

UPDATE
Neighbors saw NC highway patrol helicopter circling before crash on Raleigh street

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol helicopter facility is in the area where the crash happened.

There is no word on how the crash happened. Tryon Road is closed at Hammond Road because of the crash.

In photos from the scene, the damaged aircraft could be seen in the middle of a street. One photo showed the main rotors were destroyed and the tail section was twisted. The landing skids were bent upward and tail rotor was also bent and destroyed.

Knox says the pilot was the only person aboard the aircraft when the crash happened. Knox says the Federal Aviation Administration will be involved in the investigation.

He says the aircraft, a 1971 Bell 206B helicopter owned by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, appears to be a “total loss” based on initial observations.

In 2018, a North Carolina State Highway Patrol helicopter crashed because the helicopter was still clamped to one side of the transporter used to take it to the heliport, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Bell OH-58A, N303HP, operated by highway patrol, crashed upon takeoff on June 19 and suffered substantial damage, the report shows.

The crashed aircraft on Sunday afternoon. Photo contributed to WNCN CBS 17.

The pilot “moved the helicopter from the hangar to the helipad using an electric/hydraulic transporter attached to the helicopter skids,” the report says. While preparing the helicopter for flight, the pilot unhooked the transporter clamp from the left skid. It was at that point the passenger asked the pilot about removing the controls from the co-pilot’s side of the aircraft, according to the report.

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