2 bodies recovered in Chilton County helicopter crash; 1 identified

Multiple law enforcement agencies are working the scene of a helicopter crash in the waters of...
Multiple law enforcement agencies are working the scene of a helicopter crash in the waters of Lake Mitchell in Verbena, located in Chilton County.(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Updated: Nov. 18, 2018 at 6:51 PM CST
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CHILTON COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - Two bodies have been recovered from the helicopter crash in Lake Mitchell. Sunday marked the third day of the search and recovery after the helicopter, which belongs to Georgia law enforcement, crashed into the lake.

Columbus, Georgia, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson identified the deceased pilot as 53-year-old David Hall.

According to Tomlinson, Hall was a retired Columbus Police Officer of 28 years, but still served the city through his “piloting skills.”

“David was extremely nice. He was out front with whatever we needed at the time. He was volunteering or would go do whatever that job was and we’re gonna miss him,” said Columbus Police Chief Rickey Boren.

A second body was recovered by dive teams but has not been identified.

The second body was confirmed as the passenger but the name has not been released at the request of the family.

Crews stopped the search Saturday after the currents became too strong. The search picked back up at 8 a.m. Sunday.

Alabama Power was able to slow down the two dams nearby which made it easier for the dive teams in their search. The bodies were found still strapped into the helicopter, according to Chilton County Sheriff John Shearon.

“They cut the waterways on both ends you know down pretty much to a minimum which helped the current which helped the divers today to get down and do what they needed to do,” said Shearon.

One of the divers was injured in the recovery and was transported to a local hospital. According to officials, he will be OK.

Friday night, Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor and Chilton County Sheriff’s Assistant Chief Deputy Shane Mayfield said there seemed to be no signs of life after the crash.

Sunday morning Taylor said the dive teams made “great progress.”

Crews have still been unable to recover the helicopter after it crashed in the area of Cargile Creek. The helicopter belongs to a multi-jurisdictional task force, according to Sheriff Donna Tompkins of Muscogee County, Georgia.

“At this point, it’s gonna be left there. That’ll be up to the NTSB to decide what they want to do with that,” said Shearon.

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