COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Late Tuesday evening, crews found a Haverfield Aviation’s Hughes 500 helicopter which reportedly went down Monday near the Natchez Trace Bridge. The body of the pilot was not recovered.
Wednesday, cadaver dogs stood by, ready to search the water for the body of the pilot. The The National Transportation Safety Board also arrived, ready to take over the investigation.
Tuesday, crews searched the area by boat, using sonar to help pinpoint the location of the downed aircraft. It was a daunting task for searchers.
“What we’re doing is trying to evaluate and rule out sites now,” said Chief Chuck Lansdell, Incident Commander for the Cherokee Volunteer Fire Department. “We’ve added two more boats to the search and two more underwater cameras to search those areas that we’ve got significant sonar hits on.”
Since Monday afternoon, searchers were tracking a transponder the company used to keep track of the aircraft. Tuesday afternoon, crews were able to track its signal to the shore in Lauderdale County, four miles away. Searchers said it dislodged from the aircraft after impact with the water, adding to the mystery of what happened.
“We’re looking into all possibilities, but until we get our hands on the aircraft and that part of the investigation gets started, we don’t have an idea of what happened or what caused him to crash,” said Lansdell.
According to first responders, several personal effects of the pilot have been recovered, including his helmet, log book and a suitcase. Three helicopters are flying along the river, searching for other pieces of wreckage that may have floated downstream.
Rescue teams said the pilot had just left Corinth, Mississippi and was flying to Scottsboro, Alabama to inspect power lines in that area later this week.