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One feared dead after law enforcement helicopter crashes in Alabama lake

The helicopter from Georgia crashed Friday in Mitchell Lake, where a search was suspended because of poor visibility.
Image: Police Helicopter crash
Emergency personnel search the scene of a crashed police helicopter from Georgia on Lake Mitchell on November 16, 2018.Courtesy WVTM13

A law enforcement helicopter from Georgia crashed in Alabama on Friday, and officials said there were no immediate signs of survivors.

It was not immediately clear how many people were aboard the helicopter, which went down in waters in Alabama’s Chilton County, which is in the central part of the state, north of Montgomery, the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Chilton County Coroner Aaron Ellison told NBC affiliate WSFA of Montgomery that based on a review of flight plans, there is believed to be one fatality, but that has not been confirmed and the investigation is ongoing. The crash happened in Lake MItchell, the station reported.

Teresa Tomlinson, mayor of Columbus, Georgia, said in a statement that the helicopter was a Metro Narcotics Task Force aircraft that was flying to Clanton, Alabama, for maintenance when it crashed, apparently after hitting a power line. She said officials were notified of the crash at around 12:30 p.m.

The sheriff’s office said that divers had located the helicopter's fuselage, but they could search only briefly because of poor visibility and the depth of the lake. The search was suspended until safe light.

It said that SONAR equipment was being sent to the area to try to map debris fields and to narrow the search.