NTSB seeks cause of helicopter crash that killed 2 APD officers - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

NTSB seeks cause of helicopter crash that killed 2 APD officers

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The investigation continues into the cause a helicopter crash that killed two Atlanta police officers late Saturday night.

The Atlanta Police Department says Officer Richard Halford, 48, and Officer Shawn Smiley, 40, died when their helicopter crashed in northwest Atlanta as they were assisting in a search for a missing 9-year-old boy.


Witnesses told Federal investigators that they saw a flash of light which they believe was the helicopter hitting a power pole and supporting cables. A landing skid for the 1967 Hughes OH-6A was found in those power lines. A witness said a second flash of light was seen when the helicopter hit the ground.

"When the tail end hit down, it was an explosion.  I went to render aid.  Once I got close enough to it, it exploded again.  I knew then, there was nothing I could do," said witness Darryl James.

Hicks said the cockpit of the helicopter was fully engulfed in flames as a result of the impact. He said the helicopter did not have a flight data recorder, but they are checking with their GSP system which may have recorded data which may help the investigation.

The NTSB said they will not speculate on the exact cause of the accident. They are currently in a fact-finding phase of the investigation focusing on the "man, machine, and moment" of the crash. They believe they may have a preliminary report on the crash by the end of this week or early next week.

They said it could be nine months before the exact cause of the crash is known.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday for Officer Richard Halford. The service will be held at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church, located at 534 Fairburn Rd NW in Atlanta.

On Saturday, a funeral will be held for Officer Shawn Smiley at First Baptist Church of Atlanta, located at 4400 North Peachtree Road in Atlanta. The service begins at 11 a.m.

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