UPDATE: FAA investigating helicopter crash near Hemphill

Texas DPS Sgt. Beau Clark
Texas DPS Sgt. Beau Clark

HEMPHILL, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - bio | email

SABINE COUNTY, TEXAS (KTRE) - The Federal Aviation Administration is continuing its investigation into a helicopter crash that sent the pilot and a passenger to the hospital.

No new information is being released pending the outcome of the FAA's probe.  An FAA spokesperson also said their investigation will help determine whether any enforcement action is necessary.

It all happened so fast -- that's what two Center men told authorities after the helicopter they were in crashed into the Toledo Bend Reservoir near Hemphill.

"Not real regular in this area," said Texas Highway Patrol Sgt. Beau Clark. "I mean we do have our share of crashes, but surprised, yeah."

Department of Public Safety investigators confirmed the helicopter crashed in Sabine County.  After DPS troopers secured the crash site, investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration arrived on the scene around 7 p.m.

"They're in charge of any type of crash scene involving a helicopter or airplane and they'll come out and determine what happened," Clark said.

There's few details, but Clark explained Christopher Tyree flew down to his Sabine County lake home with Bradley Richards. The men were there for a short time and then got ready to leave.

According to Lynn Lunsford, Public Information Officer for the Federal Aviation Administration, it was a training flight.

Troopers said little is known about the crash or even who was flying the helicopter, which is believed to have happened shortly after liftoff Wednesday around noon.  The crash victims were able to tell investigators that as they were taking off it felt like the helicopter caught on something which sent the chopper into a side-spin.  The helicopter is said to have spun around and flipped and ended up landing in about five feet of water.

Tyree and Richards are being treated at a hospital in Sabine County.  Their injuries are believed to be non-life threatening, according to Clark.  Tyree owns a nearby house on the property where the helicopter crashed. Clark said he does not suspect alcohol was involved in the crash.

The crash site is about 14 miles south of Hemphill, off Highway 87 South.  Barriers have been put out to help contain any oil spill and DPS has secured the crash site.

Lunsford says the crash remains under investigation.

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