Two people were killed in a helicopter crash in northeast Tuscaloosa County on Tuesday.
The helicopter crashed near Watermelon Road and Blue Creek Road on Tuesday morning, according to Chief Deputy Ron Abernathy with the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office.
The victims have been identified as 51-year-old Matthew Wallace of Hiram, Georgia and 63-year-old David Carson of Tuscaloosa. Officials say their bodies were removed from the wreckage on Wednesday
Wallace worked for Rotor Works in Georgia and Carson worked for Alabama Power, according to Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit Sgt. Dale Phillips. Carson worked for Alabama Power for 44 years.
Joseph Brown, head of Alabama Power's Western Division, knew Carson personally. He said Carson was a good guy who enjoyed golf and was loyal to Alabama Power.
"It's a tragedy for us. Yesterday was horrible for us. We lost a great worker, a great friend, a great community guy," Brown said.
At the time of his death, Carson was a senior line specialist for the company. Brown said Carson still loved what he did.
"David enjoyed his job and we hadn't had any discussions about retirement," Brown said.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has begun their preliminary investigation into the crash. They say the men were flying in a McDonnell Douglas 369E helicopter when it crashed around 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday.
Alabama Power says that the helicopter was contracted by the company to check transmission lines.
Authorities tell FOX6 News that the helicopter is resting upside down in a ravine in a heavily wooded area.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived on Wednesday morning to investigate. A representative said it will be up to a year before their final report is ready and explained what is next for the team.
"Our purpose on the scene is to gather perishable information. That's the information that once the wreckage is moved and disturbed, it doesn't exist anymore. So it's very important for us to document everything right now and also start the recovery process which will include moving the wreckage," Dennis Diaz with NTSB said.
The wreckage will be moved to a secure facility in Atlanta to be studied further.
Alabama Power released the following statement on Tuesday about Carson:
"The Alabama Power family is saddened by the death of David Carson, 63, an employee in the Western Division office. David was killed Tuesday morning when the helicopter he was a passenger in crashed in a remote area of Tuscaloosa County. David and the pilot of the helicopter were conducting an aerial inspection of a transmission line. The helicopter was owned and operated by a private contractor, RotorWorks, LLC out of Hiram, Georgia.
David was a Senior Line Specialist and had 44 years of service at Alabama Power. Our thoughts and prayers go out to David's family during this difficult time.
More information will become available once a full investigation is complete."
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