LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. >> A police helicopter crashed as it returned to its air base after searching for a suspect near Atlanta today, injuring both occupants.
Firefighters had to free one of them from the wreckage, but both survived and are expected to recover, said Gwinnett County Cpl. Michele Pihera.
The crash scene is a grassy field at the airport, about 200 yards from the hanger where the helicopter is based.
The chopper was returning from helping officers on the ground search for a suspect, Pihera said.
By police radio, they had told the officers on the ground that they planned to head back to the airport since a storm was approaching, and conditions were getting windy, she said.
The chopper then went down around 11 a.m. at Briscoe Field, a general aviation airport in the Lawrenceville area where the police department’s two helicopters are based about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta.
The Federal Aviation Administration was sending personnel to the scene Friday and will investigate, said agency spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen, who identified the helicopter as an MD 369.
The black copter was broken into two main pieces, its tail section separate from the main fuselage.