Helicopter aids In Silver Alert search - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Helicopter aids In Silver Alert search

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Elmira Hunter Hall.....Source: MBI Elmira Hunter Hall.....Source: MBI
RAYMOND, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A fairly new Mississippi Highway Patrol helicopter was crucial in finding 81 year old Elmira Hunter Hall in Sharkey county. MHP officials sent their AS-350 B3 Echo helicopter to aid in the search for Hall Friday morning.  

"We made a couple orbits around the scene where she was last seen then we figured out how we were going to start our search pattern," said Captain Ron Kelley, the  helicopter pilot. "Of course it was a corn field, we had to go along with the rows. Within five minutes we had her spotted."

The helicopter a Mississippi product too, made by Airbus in Columbus. It can seat a pilot co-pilot and four in the back; and has a top speed of 155 knots, allowing the pilots to get anywhere in the state in about an hour.

"It's mainly a search and rescue type helicopter," added Captain Kelley. "Manhunts we have the forward looking infrared camera on it so we can utilize that at night, or daytime as well when the conditions are correct."

With a large window design, the pilot and co-pilot have a larger view of the ground for searches, which proved very effective in locating Ms. Hall.

"It's always good to find somebody and know she's OK that's what we want to do," said Captain Kelley. "That's what we get paid to do is come out here and look for people that are lost or whatever incident may be but to get there and find somebody alive is a plus, especially just before the holiday."

MHP air operations officials hope to purchase 2 more of the helicopters in the future, placing one in the northern and another in the southern part of the state, to aid in life saving missions.

The helicopter cost $3.3 Million.  State officials sold three aircraft to offset that cost.

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