Officials identify pilots injured in helicopter crash near Tullahoma Airport


A military-style helicopter crashed near the Tullahoma Regional Airport around 3 p.m. Thursday. 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in a field on W. Lincoln Street, five miles south of the Tullahoma airport.

According to officials, the occupants radioed air traffic controllers about heavy winds just before losing control and crashing. 

Two people were on board and both are pilots, according to Tullahoma officials. One of the pilots called 911.

The pilots were identified as 70-year-old Jack Cook, of Ozark, Alabama and 69-year-old Larry Cornell, of Brockton, Alabama. 

Officials say Cook and Cornell are both retired Army Aviators who have flown the Blackhawk for over 35 years. They joined Arista in 2015. 

The location of the crash is deep in the woods. It was found by Tullahoma police Sergeant Cody Brandon who hiked into the remote spot near the Coffee – Moore County line. He relayed the coordinates to the Fire Department. 

Moore County EMA Director Jason Deal says LifeFlight was called to the scene in Moore County to take one crash victim, in critical condition, to Vanderbilt University hospital in Nashville. The 2nd victim was transported by ground to a local hospital. The names of the crash victims have not been released

Deal says Cumberland Springs Road will be closed overnight until federal investigators arrive. 

Records show the helicopter is registered to Arista Aviation, a company that does contract work with local police and sheriff’s offices and was not being used by the military.

Arista, based in Enterprise, Alabama, repairs, maintains and refurbishes helicopters from companies like Bell, Boeing and Sikorsky. The company operates domestically and internationally missions including firefighting and construction.

Arista Aviation released a statement Thursday night saying, “The aircraft was on the way to an annual helicopter industry trade show in Atlanta.” 

The company is cooperating with federal investigators and maintains the incident occurred in “degraded conditions as the helicopter approached the airport.” 

The FAA is leading the crash investigation, and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident.

The aircraft registration will be released by the FAA after local authorities release the names of the aircraft occupants.

News 2’s First Responder unit is headed to the scene as well. 

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 for updates. 

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