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Tue, May 15, 2007

Crews Locate Wreckage Of Missing Helicopter

Pilot Lost In Accident Near Alabama Forest

ANN REALTIME UPDATE 05.15.07 2010 EDT: Search crews confirm they have located the wreckage of a helicopter that went missing Sunday night over Alabama's Bankhead National Forest.

WAFF 48 News reports the helo's pilot, John Scott, was killed in the crash. Air crews located the still-smoldering wreckage at 11 am Tuesday morning.

"It was found where we have been searching ... where the aircraft dropped from the radar area," said Civil Air Patrol spokeswoman Maj. Pat Mitcham. "(Searchers) were able to get close enough and saw a tail number."

Scott had recently purchased the helicopter, and was flying from Florida to Kansas.

Original Report

A helicopter and its pilot were reported missing Sunday night, and may be somewhere in northern Alabama.

Pilot John Scott, of Kansas, was enroute to the North Alabama Regional Airport from Lakeland, FL. Scott's wife, Stacia, reported he was supposed to make a stop in Muscle Shoals to spend the night.

The airport was notified of the missing aircraft, believed to be a Hughes 500 (similar type shown at right), late Sunday night.

Scott was last seen in Sylacauga sometime Sunday night during a fuel stop. Crews believe the helicopter might be in the Double Springs area.

The Civil Air Patrol is conducting ground and aerial searches. The emergency signal has not been located. Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department has assisted with ground search along with the county EMS and Cherokee Fire and Rescue. SAR teams also have a boat to search a specific section of the Tennessee River.

CAP has recruited "at least" eight aircraft to assist with the aerial search, according to WAFF Channel 48 News.

"We're looking for things along the route of flight; anything that might indicate something has gone in like broken trees, debris where it shouldn't be," said AL Wing CAP Major Jean Spruill.

Scott's wife reports he has "more than 2000 hours of flight time" and is "supremely confident" in his "exceptional" skills as a pilot.

Relatives of the pilot arrived in Decatur on Monday and are conducting their own search.

FMI: www.alwg.cap.gov, www.flytheshoals.com

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