Five people were killed after a sightseeing helicopter crashed in Tennessee. The Bell 206 helicopter crashed at around 3:30 p.m. on Monday into the mountainous area near Sevierville. The incident caused explosions and started a forest fire that stretched across the mountain. Here's the latest update about the sightseeing helicopter crash in Tennessee.
The group of passengers was on the scenic ride as part of a tourist activity when the accident happened. The helicopter was said to appear at the foot of the mountain. The crash caused at least two explosions in the area, creating a forest fire.
The Pigeon Forge Chief of Police Jack H. Baldwin confirmed that five people were killed in the crash. In an interview at CNN affiliate WATE, Baldwin stated that the helicopter crashed at around 3:30 p.m. Baldwin also said that all of the passengers died.
"The FAA will be coming in sometime tomorrow morning to do their investigation of the crash," Baldwin added.
NTSB spokesman Chris O'Neil stated that they are also now investigating the crash. Representatives from Bell Helicopter are also going to help the investigation.
The victims are still not yet identified, but Baldwin confirmed that there isn't much left in the helicopter.
Furthermore, the helicopter crash became the reason of a forest fire in the mountain. The crash sent a huge dark smoke into the sky. According to CNN, firefighters were working hard to put out the fire. FAA officials said that the fire destroyed the helicopter after it crashed. The smoke surged over the wooden area. The strong winds had caused fire to stretch all the way across the mountain. The fire had been contained by 8:45 p.m.
According to Fox News, no homes were damaged when the helicopter crashed and exploded.
The owner of Smoky Mountain Helicopters confirmed that it is their sightseeing helicopter. The company is known for its sightseeing tours around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. According to their website, they also offer scenic tours in Cherokee, Sevierville, and surrounding areas since 1964.
Meanwhile, Atty. Gary C. Robb said that it's too early to know the cause of the helicopter crash. But some tour operators of helicopter have been known to be reckless. It is their way to "thrill the passengers" by dangerous maneuvers.
Gary C. Robb is a Kansas City Attorney. He is known for his book about helicopter crash litigation.