Thursday morning weather was foul - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thursday morning weather was foul

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June 1, 2006 

Doerun -- At news time, the South Georgia weather was hot and there were thick white clouds against a blue sky.

But about 8:00AM, the horizon looked very different. Cloud cover hid the top halves of the twin 1,000-foot towers.

When the Army Chinook slammed into one of them, people who live nearby said it sounded like a giant clap of thunder. At and altitude of 950 feet, the Chinook helicopter hit near the top of WFXL's tower.

Elaine Bautista and her family live almost in the shadow of the TV towers. Thursday morning, the lights of the towers probably didn't pierce the thick clouds that surrounded them.

The Bautistas thought a storm was moving in. "I thought it was gonna start thundering and lightning, so I didn't think anything of it [the noise.] I came out, and I saw smoke coming out."

A dark morning became a dark day for the Army. "Any time the Army loses soldiers, in combat or in peacetime, it's a significant loss to all of us. It also puts focus on the sacrifice that our service members put out everyday for their country. Whether they are in the sands of Iraq, or Afghanistan, or here in Georgia," said an Army spokeswoman.

The Combat Readiness Center of Fort Rucker is in charge of this accident investigation. It could be weeks before they know exactly what happened.

The unit that was involved was the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah.

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