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Wed, Aug 10, 2005

Police Helicopter Shot Down!

Bullet Impacted Windscreen, Wounded Crew, Damaged Cockpit

A Bernalillo County, NM, sheriff's helicopter that went down 15-feet from a house in Albuquerque over the weekend wasn't brought down by mechanical problems or pilot error. It was shot down, according to Sheriff Darren White.

Metro One, a Hughes H369, was on patrol Saturday night when pilot Chris Holland and Deputy Ward Pfefferle say it suddenly pitched nose-down and impacted the ground in the backyard of an Albuquerque home. Both pilots survived, but suffered shrapnel wounds, according to White.

The bullet apparently entered the helicopter at the pilots' feet, impacting one of the anti-torque pedals and fragmenting. Tests of the cockpit were positive for traces of lead and there was damage consistent with gunfire, White said.

"We intend to use every resource available to track down the coward who is responsible for this sick and twisted act," the sheriff told reporters at a Tuesday news conference. "How could someone walk out in the middle of the night and take a gun and fire at a helicopter that's out there trying to protect the public? It's a miracle they're alive."

The Sheriff's Office and FBI are investigating.


FAA Preliminary Accident Report

IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 500SD        Make/Model: H369      Description: 269, 200, 280, 300, TH-300, SKY KNIGHT (
  Date: 08/06/2005     Time: 0830

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Serious     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

LOCATION
  City: ALBUQUERQUE   State: NM   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  N500SD, A METRO 1, HUGHES 369HS OPERATED BY THE BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFF,
  A PUBLIC USE ROTORCRAFT, CRASHED INTO THE TREES AND A FENCE WHILE ON
  PATROL, ALBUQUERQUE, NM

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   2    Fat:   0     Ser:   2     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Pass:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   1     Unk:   
                 # Grnd:          Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   

WEATHER: 09012KT 10SM FEW080 BKN130 OVC180 21/14 A3014

OTHER DATA
  Activity: Public Use      Phase: Maneuver      Operation: Public

  Departed: ALBUQUERQUE, NM             Dep Date:    Dep. Time:     
  Destination:                          Flt Plan: VFR          Wx Briefing: N
  Last Radio Cont: 
  Last Clearance: 

  FAA FSDO: ALBUQUERQUE, NM  (SW01)               Entry date: 08/08/2005

FMI: www.bernco.gov/live/departments.asp?dept=2318

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