Sheriff’s deputy and Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper are killed when helicopter they were traveling in strikes power lines and crashes
- Sergeant Lee Russell, a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper, was killed alongside his passenger, a Marion County Sherriff’s deputy
- Their helicopter crashed into a powerline near a highway after it was witnessed flying ‘erratically’
- The FAA and NTSB will be investigating the crash, with the NTSB leading the investigation
Two cops were killed in Tennessee on Tuesday when a helicopter crashed into a power line after reports of the aircraft moving ‘erratically’ in circles.
Sergeant Lee Russell, a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper was killed alongside his passenger, Marion County Sherriff’s deputy Matt Blansett, when their helicopter crashed into a wooded area near Aetna Mountain in Whiteside, Tennessee.
The crash occurred at approximately 4 p.m. on Tuesday, and officials said they had recovered the aircraft by Tuesday evening.
It is still unclear what prompted its final fatal plunge to the ground.
Tennessee State Trooper Sergeant Lee Russell was killed Tuesday ‘while conducting law enforcement operations in the THP helicopter’
Marion County Sherriff’s deputy Matt Blansett was a passenger on the helicopter when it spun out of control and hit a powerline
The crash occurred near Aetna Mountain in Whiteside, Tennessee, with the helicopter landing in a wooded area
A Facebook post from a neighbor of Blansett described him as someone who would always ‘lend a helping hand.’
Blansett leaves behind a wife, Codie, and two sons, Maddox and Banks.
One witness reportedly described seeing a black helicopter flying in circles: ‘It kind of dipped a little bit and waggled a little bit then there was a bright flash of light and puff of smoke,’ the witness said.
‘It hit one of the power lines that went across the highway and sure enough the power lines started gliding down toward me and all I could think was it’s going to land on top of me,’ the witness said.
A Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesperson confirmed that the helicopter struck the power lines crossing Interstate-24, draping the lines across the highway.
The FAA and NTSB will be investigating the crash, with the NTSB leading the investigation.