Army locks down crash scene, searches debris - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

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Army locks down crash scene, searches debris

This shot, made about 1:00PM, five hours after the crash, shows the transmission cable cut, and missing cross-members of the tower. This shot, made about 1:00PM, five hours after the crash, shows the transmission cable cut, and missing cross-members of the tower.
The downed craft was a Chinook MH-47, similar to this one. The downed craft was a Chinook MH-47, similar to this one.

June 1, 2006

DOERUN, Ga. -- A military helicopter has crashed after striking the upper portion of WFXL's 1,000-foot tall TV tower near Doerun in Colquitt County.  The collision caused a guy wire to break loose, opening the possibility that the steel tower could fall.

Army investigators from Fort Rucker, Alabama are on the scene.

The crew was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) at Hunter Army Airfield. Names of all the Soldiers involved will not be released until 24 hours after next of kin notification is complete in accordance with current Department of Defense policy.

The co-pilot, the only survivor of the violent crash near Doerun, has an abrasion on his forehead, a scraped arm, and an injury to the back of his leg, according to a woman on the scene who rendered assistance to him. He was treated and released from a local medical facility.

WFXL's over-the-air broadcast is terminated, but they are seen through cable TV. The tower is still standing.

Repair work on the television tower will be a lengthy process. Perched atop the tower it is an eight-ton antenna. The tower is roughly 100 to 150 feet away from WALB'S tower. There is concern that if the WFXL tower falls, it will damage or bring down the WALB tower.

WFXL's chief engineer said they are waiting for a full assessment of the damage before they can speculate how long it will take to repair the tower.

A tower repair crew will be called in, and it is likely that the tower will have to be taken apart piece by piece, possibly by helicopter, starting with the removal of that heavy antenna.  WFXL hopes to be back on air by tomorrow.

The chopper was enroute from Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah to the Fort Rucker Army Base at Daleville, Alabama, just north of Enterprise.