Aviation News

November 5, 2012

Atlanta Police Helicopter Crash Kills Two Officers

More articles by »
Written by: BNO News
Tags: , ,
Burning wreckage of the helicopter as shown on a local TV station.

An Atlanta police helicopter assisting in the search for a missing 9-year-old boy crashed in the city’s northwest late Saturday evening, killing the two police officers on board, officials said on Sunday. The missing child was later found safely.

The accident happened at around 10:30 p.m. local time on Saturday when a helicopter from the Atlanta Police Department’s (APD) Air Unit lost control and crashed to the ground near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in northwest Atlanta. The aircraft was carrying 48-year-old Officer Richard J. Halford of Lithia Springs and 40-year-old Officer Shawn A. Smiley of Lithonia.

The helicopter, a Hughes OH-6A (N368PD), had responded to the area to assist in the search for a 9-year-old boy who had been reported missing about 90 minutes earlier. It was not immediately known what caused the accident, but both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have launched an investigation.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the families of Officer Shawn Smiley and Officer Richard Halford on this difficult day in the City of Atlanta,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “The entire city stands with the families and the Atlanta Police Department during this time of grief.”

Halford, who is survived by his ex-wife and a 21-year-old daughter, joined the Atlanta Police Department in May 1986 and later became a pilot in the Air Unit, where he served more than sixteen years. Smiley, survived by his wife and three children aged 5, 7, and 9, had been with the Atlanta Police Department since October 2010 and joined the Air Unit earlier this year.

“Officer Richard Halford and Officer Shawn Smiley died honorably, serving our citizens and our police force,” Police Chief George Turner said. “Every day, they provided air support for our officers, assisting in major events and searches for suspects and missing persons. Their value to our citizens and our officers on the street is incalculable. Last night they made the ultimate sacrifice in those endeavors.”

About the Author

BNO News



NTSB Issues Preliminary Report on Teterboro Crash

The NTSB has released their preliminary report on the May 15th Learjet crash in Teterboro, NJ.
by Stephanie Gehman


OPINION: The Investigator Most Qualified

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and not those of NYCAviation In recent months, there has been a wave of fresh speculation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the Boeing 777-200ER lost mor...
by Stephen Carbone



NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman Announces Her Resignation

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman has announced her resignation from the National Transportation Safety Board, effective April 25th, 2014.
by Ben Granucci


COMMENTARY: NTSB Briefing on Asiana 214

The San Francisco crash of Asiana 214 during perfect VMC conditions (but with the ILS out of service) has prompted many questions. The answers have prompted many more questions about why the Boeing 777 was allowed to crash at all.
by Eric Auxier


NTSB Issues an Interim Update on Asiana Flight 214

The NTSB on Friday morning announced that an investigative hearing will be conducted in December regarding the crash of Asiana Flight 214. They also provided an update on the progress of the investigation.
by Ben Granucci