NTSB: Police chopper too low, likely causing crash - KMSP-TV

NTSB: Police chopper too low, likely causing crash

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The scene on scene on Nov. 3, 2012 after an Atlanta Police Department helicopter clipped power lines and crashed in a parking lot in northwest Atlanta. (FOX 5 file) The scene on scene on Nov. 3, 2012 after an Atlanta Police Department helicopter clipped power lines and crashed in a parking lot in northwest Atlanta. (FOX 5 file)
The crash claimed the lives of pilot Richard J. Halford and tactical flight officer Shawn A. Smiley. (FOX 5 file) The crash claimed the lives of pilot Richard J. Halford and tactical flight officer Shawn A. Smiley. (FOX 5 file)

ATLANTA (AP) - Federal investigators have determined an Atlanta police helicopter likely crashed -- killing both officers on board -- because the pilot was flying too low and was unable to see and avoid a power pole and wires during a search for a missing child.

After a 16-month investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause of the Nov. 3, 2012 accident in a report released this week.

The NTSB's report states that the likely cause was the pilot's failure to maintain sufficient altitude, which resulted in the crash in a southwest Atlanta neighborhood. The chopper went down, then burst into flames as the officers searched for a 9-year-old boy who had run away.

The pilot, 48-year-old Richard J. Halford; and 40-year-old tactical flight officer Shawn A. Smiley were killed.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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