Jackson Police helicopter likely totaled in crash

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Associated Press

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 16 at 9:30 AM

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) — A weekend hard landing that crumpled the Jackson Police Department's helicopter likely marks the end of the aircraft's use.

Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist said the Bell Aircraft Corp. helicopter, built in 1972, is probably beyond repair.

The Jackson Sun (http://bit.ly/RxfS72 ) reported the craft went down before sunrise Saturday, falling into Mount Calvary Cemetery as it was being used to look for evidence after a report of gunshots being fired.

Sgt. Gerald Wiltshire was the pilot and Officer Tony Valdes was the observer when the helicopter went down. Both walked away from the accident, and neither was seriously injured.

Deputy Chief Barry Michael said Monday that the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate and the agency asked police to store the helicopter in a hangar until it can be examined. Michael said it appears a mechanical failure brought down the craft.

Gist said the police department obtained the helicopter from military surplus in 1997 and paid $1 for it.

"A search will begin soon to replace the helicopter as long as it is financially feasible," the mayor said.

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Information from: The Jackson Sun, http://www.jacksonsun.com

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