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Police helicopter crashes

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

COVINGTON -- A DeKalb County Police Department helicopter crashed and caught fire between the two runways at Covington Municipal Airport Friday afternoon about 4:45 p.m., according to the Covington Fire Department.

A pilot and a trainee were "practicing hydraulic maneuvers" when the mishap occurred, according to CFD spokesman Capt. Rob Christopher.

Both men were able to get out of the burning aircraft before CFD firefighters arrived on the scene and extinguished the blaze with foam.

"According to the medics, the two had injuries that were somewhat minor, but were transported to Atlanta Medical to be checked out as a precautionary measure," Christopher said.

"Somebody passing by came to Fire Station 2 and told us about it," Christopher said. "He said there was a helicopter down and smoke was coming from the helicopter."

CFD firefighters rushed to the scene and found the burning chopper.

Christopher said the airport was shut down and would remain closed until investigators arrived from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

"It will remain shut down until the scene is completely secure. I don't have an estimate on that time right now," he said Friday evening.