Call reporting helicopter crash turns out to be false alarm

From an article in the Portsmouth Herald

Power company stringing lines along Route 236
July 03, 2014 2:00 AM

 HeliopterReference Photo

KITTERY, Maine — Police, fire and emergency personnel were called out Wednesday afternoon for what turned out to be a false sighting of a helicopter crash. It was learned a helicopter had simply flown below the tree line, but that wasn’t clear when a caller reported a crash in the vicinity of Route 236 just after noon. By the time police were able to talk directly with the pilot, more than 90 minutes after the initial call, a full-on emergency response had been mobilized.

The call prompted law enforcement and public safety officials from Kittery and Eliot to set up a command center at a former medical supply business just north of the Interstate 95 interchange.”We have to start at the highest possible level and respond accordingly,” said Kittery/Eliot Police Chief Theodor Short. Although other witnesses in the area reported seeing the same helicopter but said they did not believe it had crashed, police and fully suited firefighters began walking into the nearby woods looking for a crash site.

“A couple of them said it was pretty swampy back there,” Short said. Portsmouth International Airport at Pease and Littlebrook Air Park in Eliot were both contacted, but indicated no flights over that part of Kittery. Central Maine Power Co., which has been stringing transmission line along the Route 236 corridor as part of its power reliability project, reported that helicopters were working in the area Wednesday. It was not until public safety officials were actually able to speak with the pilot, however, that the search was called off. “We just asked in the future, if they know they’re going to be in the area, to let us know,” Short said.

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