US Army helicopter crashes in south Georgia

The downed craft was a Chinook MH-47, similar to this one.
The downed craft was a Chinook MH-47, similar to this one.

(Doerun, GA-AP) June 1, 2006 - An Army helicopter clipped a television station tower wire and crashed Thursday morning in south Georgia, killing four soldiers on a routine training mission.

Lisa Eichhorn, a spokeswoman for Fort Rucker, Alabama, home to the Army helicopter training school where the chopper was headed, says that a fifth soldier aboard the MH-47 Chinook helicopter survived.

The chopper, based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, crashed just after 8am in a northwestern corner of Colquitt County after leaving the Savannah Army post en route to Fort Rucker.

The craft clipped a wire on a 1,000-foot tall TV tower before going down, according to the station manager. The tower now has a conspicuous tilt.

The station's general manager says that officials are uncertain whether the collision with the wire caused the crash or if the chopper was in trouble before nipping the wire.

Angela Tyner, a 32-year-old teacher's assistant, witnessed the crash and helped tend to the sole survivor.

Flames and plumes of smoke were coming out of the engine and she saw the bodies of two of the four victims. Then she noticed the survivor, with a cut above his eye and few scratches on his hands, walking along a fence. She set him down in her truck until an ambulance arrived to take him to a local hospital.

The chopper crashed with such force that pieces of the aircraft scattered over a wide area, landing in the yards of residents living near the tower.

Eichorn says a team from Fort Rucker will investigate the fatal crash. Officials would not release the names of the soldiers until 24 hours after their next of kin were notified.

The Army would not confirm which unit the chopper belonged to, but information on the crash was released by the US Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Updated 2:54pm by Bryce Mursch