Survivor of 1994 APD helicopter crash talks about ordeal - New York News

Survivor of 1994 APD helicopter crash talks about ordeal

Posted: Updated:
Riverdale Police Chief Samuel Patterson, who was once an Atlanta officer, was in a helicopter accident back in 1994. Riverdale Police Chief Samuel Patterson, who was once an Atlanta officer, was in a helicopter accident back in 1994.
RIVERDALE, Ga. -

For one local police chief, the weekend's deadly police helicopter crash is bringing back bad memories.

Riverdale Police Chief Samuel Patterson, who was once an Atlanta officer, was in a helicopter accident back in 1994.

"I was in the helicopter by myself back in January of 1994 and the aircraft lost power, the engine quit and  I had to auto-rotate to the ground at Westview Cemetery and was able to almost walk away," Patterson said.

Patterson said that the accident left him with some physical injuries and a respect for the machine he once piloted.
 
"I broke the L4 vertebra in my back and was able to crawl away from the helicopter and fortunately it didn't catch on fire," said Patterson.
 
As grateful as Patterson is that he survived his crash nearly 20 years ago, his heart was heavy with the news that his former colleague, Officer Richard Halford, died in the weekend tragedy along with Officer Shawn Smiley. Patterson said that he helped train Halford.
 
"That was very difficult for me to accept knowing the fact that Richard was a dedicated pilot, a dedicated police officer and a true asset to the Atlanta Police Department," said Patterson.
 
The mission the officers were on -- looking for a missing child - is typical of what Patterson says the chopper is often used for. He said the helicopter is usually at least 500 feet from the ground, but said that they will go lower depending on the task.
 
"There were lots of opportunities where we had to fly that helicopter in lower altitude than we would normally fly it at because we were looking for a small child and that may have contributed to the accident that Officer Halford and Officer Smiley were involved in," said Patterson. "It will probably be one of those unfortunate accidents, a risk that we take when we fly that helicopter."

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Manhattan fire hydrant earns more than average American

    Manhattan fire hydrant earns more than average American

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:47 AM EDT2014-08-21 13:47:10 GMT
    One Manhattan fire hydrant has turned into a cash cow for the city.It's become a celebrity in revenue generator and it does not ask for sick days, gets no health benefits, and no 401(k). Yet it brings in tens of thousands of dollars for the city each year.The old hydrant is so notorious, it's got a personalized sign.. It sits across from 152 Forsyth St. and is a local legend.In just an eight month period the hydrant has caused drivers to get hundreds of tickets.The issue that catches drivers ...
    One Manhattan fire hydrant has turned into a cash cow for the city.It's become a celebrity in revenue generator and it does not ask for sick days, gets no health benefits, and no 401(k). Yet it brings in tens of thousands of dollars for the city each year.The old hydrant is so notorious, it's got a personalized sign.. It sits across from 152 Forsyth St. and is a local legend.In just an eight month period the hydrant has caused drivers to get hundreds of tickets.The issue that catches drivers ...
  • Zoo feeds roadkill to animals

    Zoo feeds roadkill to animals

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:07 AM EDT2014-08-21 13:07:23 GMT
    Roadkill is part of the menu when it's feeding time at a zoo in western New York. The Seneca Park Zoo has been feeding deer carcasses to its carnivores for years. The practice began after a zoo employee hit a deer on the way to work. The zoo gets the deer after they've been hit by vehicles on Rochester-area roadways. But it won't accept deer that have been dead for more than 10 hours. The zoo also accepts deer killed by bow hunters.
    Roadkill is part of the menu when it's feeding time at a zoo in western New York. The Seneca Park Zoo has been feeding deer carcasses to its carnivores for years. The practice began after a zoo employee hit a deer on the way to work. The zoo gets the deer after they've been hit by vehicles on Rochester-area roadways. But it won't accept deer that have been dead for more than 10 hours. The zoo also accepts deer killed by bow hunters.

  • Park Service bans drones over Appalachian Trail

    Park Service bans drones over Appalachian Trail

    Thursday, August 21 2014 8:25 AM EDT2014-08-21 12:25:02 GMT
    The National Park Service has banned drones from flying over the Appalachian Trail. The Park Service said Wednesday the interim rule prohibits launching, landing or operating unmanned aircraft from or on Appalachian National Scenic Trail lands. The ban takes effect immediately and lasts until the Park Service can develop an appropriate policy. 
    The National Park Service has banned drones from flying over the Appalachian Trail. The Park Service said Wednesday the interim rule prohibits launching, landing or operating unmanned aircraft from or on Appalachian National Scenic Trail lands. The ban takes effect immediately and lasts until the Park Service can develop an appropriate policy. 
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices