Helicopter with 3 people on board crashes in Georgia forest

September 16, 2021 GMT

MONTICELLO, Ga. (AP) — A helicopter with three people on board crashed in a national wildlife preserve in Middle Georgia and search crews were looking for the wreckage, federal authorities said.

Teams of people were searching Thursday for the downed aircraft after it went missing late Wednesday in the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge north of Macon, The Telegraph newspaper reported.

There were three people on board the helicopter, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Emma Duncan said in an email to The Associated Press late Thursday.

Officials did not say whether anyone survived the crash, nor did they identify anyone on board.

The crash involved a Robinson R66 helicopter, which went down in a heavily wooded area, the National Transportation Safety Board said. The five-seat chopper is capable of flying 160 mph (257 kph) and traveling up to 400 miles, he said.

It was “pouring rain” in the area Wednesday evening, when authorities said the helicopter went missing around 8:30 p.m., a woman who lives nearby told The Telegraph. She said her husband heard a low-flying aircraft over their house and felt like something was wrong.

“It was flying really low,” April Seabolt told the newspaper.

Local rescue crews set up a command post at the nearby Enon Baptist Church, and Seabolt went there Thursday to tell authorities what she knew about the crash.

The NTSB and FAA will investigate the crash, and the NTSB will provide updates, Duncan said.

Few other details were available Thursday.