Five people were killed after a Bell 206 sightseeing helicopter crashed in the Great Smoky Mountains near the town of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee on Monday.
Tennessee Emergency Management Association spokesperson Dean Flener confirmed that five people had died, the Irish Examiner reports.
Local authorities will release the names of the people on board and their conditions, according to FAA spokesperson Kathleen Bergen.
The crash was reported to the FAA around 3:30 p.m. by local authorities.
According to Pigeon Forge police chief Jack Baldwin, only a small piece of the tail wing was left from the helicopter after it was destroyed by fire.
"Just a burnt mess…there's not much left…" – Jack Baldwin, Chief of Police in Pigeon Forge at the scene of the chopper crash.
— WBIR Channel 10 (@wbir) April 4, 2016
Witnesses reported to WBIR that the helicopter crashed into trees, and explosions were heard afterwards.
The crash started a fire in some nearby woods, prompting the Tennessee Forestry Division to come out to the scene. According to Nathan Waters, a spokesperson, the fire only burned two to three acres and was mostly contained by 8:45 p.m.
Crews still on scene in Pigeon Forge after a helicopter crash killed 5 pic.twitter.com/EBxvzpOwNr
— Jacob Haskew (@Jacob_Haskew) April 5, 2016
Police Chief Baldwin said the FAA has taken over the investigation. The NTSB is also assisting in the efforts.
NTSB investigating crash of Bell 206 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
— NTSB (@NTSB) April 5, 2016
[Image: Saul Young/Knoxville News Sentinel]