Officers in Hospital After Police Helicopter Crashes In Georgia

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- Two officers are conscious after a Gwinnett County Police helicopter crashed in Lawrenceville Friday morning.

The crash happened about 200 yards from a hangar at Gwinnett County Airport at Briscoe Field around 10:58 a.m.

Both officers were transported to GMC Lawrenceville, police said. The extent of their injuries is not yet known, but they are non-life threatening.

Gwinnett County Fire Department crews helped extricate an officer and pilot who was trapped inside the chopper, police said. The other officer was able to exit. Both were said to be alert, conscious and talking after the crash. 

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"This is a hard situation here, we are a family at the Gwinnett Police Department and we don't like to hear that anyone on our staff has been hurt," Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Michele Pihera said. "If you could have seen what it looked like before I got here... it was just a swarm of Gwinnett police and fire."

The helicopter was returning back to the hanger after assisting uniform patrol officers with a chase of a wanted suspect when officials said weather conditions turned unfavorable. The weather conditions were windy and a storm was coming in, police said. 

They crashed in a wide-open, grassy area, Pihera said.

"This is the best, worst-case scenario, and we are just thankful that they are alive and it looks like they're going to survive their injuries," Pihera said.

Authorities have not identified the injured officers.

"I know that they've got other family members and we want to give them the opportunity to tell them in their own words what happened," Pihera said.

The Gwinnett County Police Department helicopter, which is one of two helicopters in its fleet, suffered significant damage. It’s unclear if the aircraft can be repaired.

At this time, it's unknown how far off the ground the helicopter was prior to crashing. The FAA will lead the investigation in determining the cause of this crash, Pihera said. 

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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