Army concludes TV tower crash report -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Army concludes TV tower crash report

January 5, 2007

Albany -- On a cloudy day in June, 2006, an Army helicopter en route from Hunter Army Air Field to Fort Rucker, Alabama, struck the WFXL-TV tower, which stood about 150 feet away from the WALB-TV tower near Doerun.

The collision destroyed a multi-million helicopter, and killed four Special Forces personnel aboard the craft. The co-pilot survived.

In a controlled-demolition attempt to collapse the WFXL tower, the WALB tower was also destroyed. Thousands of South Georgians who received TV over the air have been without both stations' signals from that moment.

We've been waiting six months for the Army to release their report on the crash, and now their report is ready.

Friday, we received an email from Kimberly T. Laudano, the Public Affairs Officer for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The relevant portion of the letter was this:

"The investigation into the helicopter accident in southwest Georgia on June 1, 2006, was recently completed."   

"The results found that several contributing factors lead to the accident where a MH-47 Chinook helicopter flew into the television antennas, all relating to lack of aircrew situational awareness and coordination during the flight.  A potential contributing factor was deteriorating weather conditions." 

Though this statement doesn't give specific, exact causes to the collision, the Army does, for the first time, acknowledge that their chopper hit the tower.

Our Jennifer Emert interviewed Army officials, who said that their report concludes that there were no mechanical problems with the Chinook helicopter, and that their air crew basically flew into the tower.

Jennifer will have the full story in our 6:00 newscast.


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