FAA to begin investigation into Coffee County helicopter crash

Posted: 3:37 PM, Mar 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-04 19:17:28-05

COFFEE COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — Federal investigators want to know what caused a helicopter crash that occurred in Coffee County last week.

The aircraft went down on Thursday afternoon, just outside Tullahoma, injuring two people. One pilot is out of the hospital and at home while the other remains at Vanderbilt Medical Center in recovery.

The HH-60 helicopter was moved from the crash site over the weekend to another location so that FAA investigators could study it.

"The aircraft is extraordinarily safe," said Sky5 pilot Jason Morgan.

He is familiar with this type of helicopter, a version of the military Blackhawk.

"It's very unusual for a twin-engine aircraft to have a problem like this degree."

All we know at this point is the helicopter enroute from Enterprise, Alabama crashed five miles from the Tullahoma airport.

Photos from the site show the tail split from the fuselage and parts of the tail rotor appear to have ended up in the trees.

"It's very curious the tale section ended up in the trees. The fact it separated all together raises some serious questions," said Morgan.

He does recall a similar incident involving the same type of helicopters back in 1996. Tragically six died at Ft. Campbell when the rotors from two Blackhawks collided during a training exercise. The resulting torque caused the tail to break leading to a catastrophic crash.

"The force to move that thing is phenomenal," said Morgan.

Is it possible the rotor from this helicopter maybe clipped a tree? Morgan can't say.

But that is certainly one of several possibilities the FAA will look at while investigating the cause of the crash.

"They will look at everything ... and I mean everything," said Morgan.

The FAA investigation could take more than a year to complete.