CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A Charleston County Sheriff’s Office helicopter crashed near the Charleston International Airport on Tuesday afternoon, resulting in a ground stop at the airport for several hours.
A spokesman for the sheriff’s office, Andrew Knapp, said the agency received a report around 3:30 p.m. that one of its helicopters went down in the airfield near the airport after the pilot reported a malfunction.
The 2012 Bell 407GX helicopter was returning from a flight to Sumter for routine maintenance, according to CCSO.
Several law enforcement agencies, along with military and airport personnel, responded to the scene. CCSO said that first responders “found the aircraft with significant damage.”
The pilot — identified as Lt. Scott Martray — was the only person on board at the time of the crash. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina for treatment.
Lt. Martray has been with the agency since 2006.
CCSO said that pilots receive training on how to safely navigate through emergencies, and Lt. Martray did exactly what he was supposed to do.
“Our deputies encounter dangers daily and rely on their training to safely guide them through those challenges,” Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano said. “Our pilots are no different. We respect and appreciate Scott’s expertise that allowed him to bring the helicopter down while minimizing damage on the ground and injury to himself. We will continue to support him and his family through his recovery. We will also support the investigation to determine what caused the malfunction.”
Officials at the Charleston International Airport temporarily suspended all flights around 3:45 p.m. as a result of the incident.
One runway reopened and flights resumed around 5:30 p.m., but delays are expected into the evening.
Travelers are asked to check with their individual airlines before arriving for flights.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating.