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FAA Employee Killed In Helicopter Crash Identified

Transportation safety officials are now looking into what caused a helicopter to go down in a Jackson neighborhood.
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Transportation safety officials are now looking into what caused a helicopter to go down in a Jackson neighborhood.

A helicopter carrying Federal Aviation Administration employees crashed into a house Tuesday in a Jackson neighborhood, killing Charles Farmer, 59, of Wetumpka, Ala., officials said.

The helicopter crashed during a work-related flight at about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday in the area of Holloman Avenue and Perkins Street, police said. The helicopter came down on the back porch of a home. No one was home at the time of the crash, officials said.

Two FAA pilots were in the helicopter, officials said. Farmer was killed and Larry C. Wells, was transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Hospital officials said Wells, of Crystal Springs, was listed in critical condition on Wednesday.

FAA regional spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the Farmer and Wells are both experienced pilots.

Bergen said the employees were doing proficiency tests prior to the crash. Police said the helicopter is privately owned and had taken off from Flowood. The owner of the helicopter was not on board when it crashed, police said.

"Seems like it was having some type of malfunction. It had a loud popping noise. It went pop and it slowed up. When it popped, it slowed up and then it started coming down," said Ardell Williams, a witness, who was outside his home chatting with his mailman when he saw the helicopter flying toward his neighborhood before falling from the sky.

"It just fell into the back of the porch. A lot of the smoke and dust came up from the house. I thought the gas tank had set the house on fire," Williams added.

Margaret Jones said she didn't see flames when she looked out her door. Her house is next to the crash site. She didn't see the crash but she heard it.

"At that time, I come to the door and I started to smell the gas from the plane," Jones said.

Authorities remained unsure whether the deceased pilot was actually at the controls when the helicopter went down, or if it was the other pilot on board.

NTSB investigators were working Wednesday to determine what caused the helicopter to crash.

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