Pilot dead, passenger critically injured in Sevier Co. helicopter crash

One is dead and one is critically injured following the helicopter crash, officials said.
According to Sevier County Sheriff’s Office officials, one person died and one person was critically injured in a helicopter crash Wednesday afternoon.
Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 3:03 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2021 at 9:37 PM EST
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On Scene of Sevier Co. Helicopter Crash

WVLT News is on the scene of a fatal helicopter crash in Sevier County

Posted by WVLT on Wednesday, December 29, 2021

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - A helicopter crash in Sevier County resulted in at least one death and one person critically injured Wednesday afternoon, representatives with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office told WVLT News.

According to a preliminary report from the Federal Aviation Administration, the helicopter’s pilot died, and the passenger was critically injured in the crash. The FAA also reported that the crash occurred for “unknown reasons.”

The crash occurred in the Cosby area along Hooper Highway near Apple Tree Lane, according to Cocke County and Sevier County Sherriff’s Office officials. SCSO officials were also able to confirm that Sevier County EMS, the National Park Service, the CCSO and the SCSO were on scene.

WVLT News reached out to several East Tennessee helicopter tour companies to confirm whether the crashed helicopter was theirs. Representatives from Scenic Helicopter Tours, Sevier County Aviation, Sevier County Choppers confirmed that the downed helicopter did not belong to any of them.

According to flightaware.com, a helicopter took off from the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge airport at 2:13 p.m. and was supposed to land at 2:26 p.m., but was last seen in the Sevierville area at 2:21 p.m. The helicopter, with tail number N544SC, is registered to November Alpha LLC, a company that owns Touchstone Helicopters, a helicopter leaser out of California.

According to the preliminary report from the FAA, the tail number of the helicopter that crashed was confirmed to be N544SC. It was originally manufactured by Robinson Helicopter Company.

Witnesses on the scene told WVLT News that the helicopter crashed near Baxter’s Orchard and was surrounded by “at least 40 fire trucks.”

A witness who said they live less than a tenth of a mile from the crash site spoke to WVLT News about the crash.

“As I was coming out of my house, you saw it just streak across, you couldn’t get to it fast enough,” the witness said. “It was incredibly loud and you know something is wrong when something like that hits the side of a mountain that your house is attached to.”

He also said that he was grateful the crash happened in a place where first responders could get to it.

WVLT News also spoke with a representative from Scenic Helicopter Tours, a tourist helicopter ride company in the area, who spoke on today’s flying conditions.

“These weather conditions are not flyable,” they said.

WVLT News also reached out to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, and representatives said that the helicopter was not one of theirs.

Sevier County officials confirmed that preliminary information leads them to believe that no one else was on the helicopter when it crashed.

This is a developing story.

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