ATLANTA -- The Atlanta police helicopter that crashed Saturday night, killing two officers, was a Vietnam War-era chopper that city officials 11 years ago said had outlived its useful life, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Officers Richard J. Halford, 48, and Shawn A. Smiley, 40, were using the helicopter to search for a missing 9-year-old boy when they crashed near the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. and Hamilton E. Holmes drives. The boy was later found safe.
According to Atlanta City Council records from September 2001, the Hughes OH-6 helicopter that crashed was built in 1967 and was used by the U.S. Army until it was donated to the APD in 1996 to assist with the Olympic Games.
Eleven years ago, the APD requested $2.8 million from the City Council to replace the Hughes OH-6 that crashed Saturday night, as well as a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter also operated by the department, saying they “have outlived their useful lives of 25 years.”
The council approved $1,360,425 to replace one of the helicopters, but current FAA records show both aircraft still being used by APD.
The AJC is attempting to contact APD officials to find out whether the $1.36 million was used to purchase another helicopter.