Bay County Sheriff's Helicopter Destroyed in Crash

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No one was seriously injured when one of the two Bay County Sheriff's helicopters, crashed while taking off at the old Panama City airport around sunset Friday night.

The chopper, with two officers on board, was taking off to help search for several teenagers missing in the North Bear Creek area.

Major Tommy Ford with the sheriff's office tells NewsChannel 7 the chopper had gotten three or four feet off the ground when a wind gust blew some debris into the rotor blades causing it to tip over and crash to the ground on its side.

Major Ford says the pilot, who has thousands of hours of experience, and the inferred operator, were the only two on board. Their injuries were very minor.

The chopper, which was given free to the sheriff's office years ago as army surplus was, for all practical purposes destroyed.

Meanwhile, a short while later after the Friday night crash the missing teenagers were found safe after they walked out of the woods in the Bear Creek/Camp Flowers area.

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