FAA officials investigating emergency landing

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating the emergency landing of a helicopter in Memphis on Sunday.

The helicopter in question has been sealed off since the emergency landing.  Upon first look inside the helicopter hangar, the chopper did not appear damaged.

Kathleen Bergen of the FAA confirmed that investigators are on the case.

"We look at anything and everything that could've played a role in this hard landing," Bergen said.

Sunday, one of the four department helicopters was flying a training mission.  At 500 feet, something happened to force an emergency landing in an empty field.

Right now, the FAA classifies the case as a hard landing.  Investigators are trying to determine whether what happened officially qualifies as an accident or an incident.

"An incident is no damage or injury, or minor damage or injury," Bergen said.  "An accident is classified as death or serious injury to a person on board or substantial damage or destruction of an aircraft."

Bergen said the investigation will take some time.

"Everyone wants answers right away, but when an aviation accident occurs, it's a thorough, methodical process," Bergen said.  "Our goal is to determine what happened and why and also to make some recommendations to make sure this doesn't happen again."

One of the officers who was in the chopper at the time is still in the hospital.  The other has been treated and released.

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