COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Colbert County Emergency Management Agency reported an aircraft crashed in the Tennessee River Monday afternoon.
State Troopers said multiple credible calls came in about 1 p.m. about an aircraft crashing into the Tennessee River.
An eye witness told WHNT News 19’s Catherine Awasthi on the scene that a black helicopter flying lower than the Natchez Trace Parkway bridge hit the water. The witness, who was fishing at the time, said the helicopter broke apart into pieces as it hit the water.
Crews recovered items like backpacks, a first aid kit and log books on the bank down the river. They also report seeing oil slicks in the water, which is helping to pinpoint a location.
Troopers believe only the pilot was aboard the aircraft when it crashed. The pilot is an employee of Haverfield Aviation, Inc., which owns the aircraft. The company confirmed to State Troopers that it is missing an aircraft and GPS data indicated it is the one that crashed into the Tennessee River. According to the company’s website, Haverfield Aviation specializes in aerial power line inspection and maintenance.
Emergency responders on the scene believe they have located the wreckage of the crash using sonar. The Colbert County Dive Team is working with underwater cameras to locate the body of the helicopter. Officials want to confirm a 300 foot radius or less before sending divers under.
The aircraft is believed to be an OH6 helicopter. Prior to the crash Monday, it had left Corinth, Mississippi and was headed to Scottsboro.
Once crews locate the aircraft, the National Transportation Safety Board will take over the investigation.
They will not release the name of the pilot until the body is positively identified.