Neighbors never heard a crash, but wondered if something was wrong with helicopter

Published: Mar. 31, 2015 at 2:23 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2015 at 9:54 AM CDT
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HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - There are only a handful of homes within a few miles of the site in Harrison County where a helicopter went down Monday afternoon killing two people on board and injuring a third.

Surprisingly, none of those who live nearby said they heard a loud noise or even knew a helicopter had crashed. Some did, however, say there was one thing they thought was kind of odd.

"The motor just didn't sound right," Howard Kaufman said.

Kaufman is a mechanic. He said the sound of the helicopter made him think something was not quite right.

"It's spitting and sputtering and we didn't hear any crashes or anything it was just smoke," Kaufman said.

Earnest Richardson Jr. also noticed the noise coming from the chopper monitoring the controlled burn.

"It was kind of sputtering and dropping a little bit and the way it was going, like I said I worked off shore a little bit and I've been on enough helicopters to know how they make their landings," Richardson said.

Richardson thought the helicopter made an emergency landing. No one expected the actual tragedy that had just unfolded.

"I never heard an explosion or a crash," Richardson said. "I never knew it went down like it did or I would have probably run out there as soon as I could have."

Minutes after the silence of the helicopter motor other frightening signals led neighbors to wonder if something might have gone terribly wrong.

"There was a lot of smoke over here," Emily Kaufman said. "Then about five, ten minutes later we heard the cars and ambulance and firefighters."

"I can't say it was from the crash, but you could smell the plastic, maybe it was the fiberglass from the aircraft," Howard Kaufman said.

The names of those killed in the accident will not be released until the autopsies are complete. Those are scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove did tell WLOX News one of the victims worked for the U.S. Forest Service.

At this time, no one has said what may have led to the crash.

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