ATLANTA (AP) - Federal investigators hope to have a preliminary report later this week on what caused an Atlanta police helicopter to hit the top of a power line pole and its support cables before crashing on a busy city street Saturday night, killing two officers.
No one on the ground was injured. The officers were searching for a 9-year-old boy who had run away from home. He was later found unharmed. The two officers have been identified as 48-year-old Richard J. Halford, the pilot, who had been with the department for 26 years, and 40-year-old Shawn Smiley, a tactical flight officer who joined the department two years ago.
Atlanta Police Chief George Turner is praising the two officers as public servants who died honorably in the search for the missing boy.
Both men were fathers. Smiley had three children under the age of 10. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says he is saddened by what he calls a "terrible accident." In a statement, Reed says "We mourn these two brave men and offer our deepest condolences to their families and loved ones."