Crews tired, disheartened after 5 days of searching for missing pilot

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COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Search and rescue teams continued looking for a missing pilot Friday, marking day five in search efforts.

On Thursday, crews pulled a Haverfield Aviation Hughes 500 helicopter out of the water. When they recovered it Tuesday, officials said the pilot was not inside nor around the wreckage.

However, crews from across the Shoals, and some even from Hardin County, Tenn. are not giving up in the search.

”We’ll be out here doing this until we get him home,” said incident commander and Cherokee Fire Chief Chuck Lansdell. "This is both physically and mentally taking a toll on these crews. You’ve got to deal with the frustration of not being able to locate the pilot and getting him back to his family. That’s our end goal."

Lansdell said even with rotating crews through the day, they are extremely fatigued. Haverfield Aviation is also continuing their search efforts. Dive teams were in the water Friday, checking on some key spots about half a mile from the Natchez Trace Bridge.

"We have recovered some additional parts of the aircraft and we've gotten those ready to turn over to authorities."

A big portion of the force is volunteers. Lansdell said they are doing what they can to let them get back to their other jobs, and their families. "Your family misses you being there and we like to just have a normal dinner.  When you’re not there for 12 to 15 hours a day, it gets a little tiring on your family.”

Lansdell said with another family waiting, the crews will work through the weekend. Cadaver dogs from Tennessee will be back to help Saturday morning.

The crash happened Monday afternoon, near Colbert Ferry Park. No one else was on board.

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