ATLANTA (AP) - Federal investigators have determined an Atlanta police helicopter likely crashed -- killing both officers on board -- because the pilot was flying too low and was unable to see and avoid a power pole and wires during a search for a missing child.
After a 16-month investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause of the Nov. 3, 2012 accident in a report released this week.
The NTSB's report states that the likely cause was the pilot's failure to maintain sufficient altitude, which resulted in the crash in a southwest Atlanta neighborhood. The chopper went down, then burst into flames as the officers searched for a 9-year-old boy who had run away.
The pilot, 48-year-old Richard J. Halford; and 40-year-old tactical flight officer Shawn A. Smiley were killed.