DOERUN, Ga. (AP) — A military helicopter clipped a rural television tower and crashed Thursday morning, killing four soldiers on a training mission, officials said.
A fifth soldier aboard the MH-47 Chinook helicopter survived, said Lisa Eichhorn, a spokeswoman for Fort Rucker, Ala., home to the Army helicopter training school where the soldiers were headed.
The helicopter had left Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah and went down in rural Colquitt County just after 8 a.m., said sheriff's dispatcher Becky Perry.
As it flew past a television station's 1,000-foot-tall tower, it clipped a wire, said Deborah Owens, station manager of WFXL.
Angela Tyner, 32, heard the crash, dialed 911 and then jumped in her pickup and drove to the nearby cow pasture where the wreckage lay.
Flames and smoke were coming out of the helicopter's engine, she said. She said she saw two bodies, then she noticed the survivor walking along a fence with a cut above his eye and few scratches on his hands.
"It was a miracle he was alive," Tyner said.
She helped the man to her truck until an ambulance arrived to take him to a local hospital.
Officials were uncertain if the collision with the television tower caused the crash or if the helicopter was already in trouble. A team of military police from the nearby Marine base was called to secure the area, and authorities were keeping reporters away.
The Army didn't immediately release the names of the soldiers and wouldn't confirm which unit the chopper belonged to. Information on the crash had been released by the U.S. Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg.