Hernando County Sheriff’s Helicopter Forced To Make Emergency Landing In Field Near Brooksville Elementary School

HCSO Aviation Unit "Air-1," flown by Deputy Pilot Roy McLaughlin and Tactical Flight Officer B.J. Hart.
HCSO Aviation Unit “Air-1,” flown by Deputy Pilot Roy McLaughlin and Tactical Flight Officer B.J. Hart. Photo by Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

BROOKSVILLE, FL – On Thursday, July 29, 2021 at approximately 10 p.m., Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies, with assistance from the Aviation and K-9 Units, were in the Brooksville area attempting to locate a wanted person. During this time, the HCSO Aviation Unit “Air-1,” flown by Deputy Pilot Roy McLaughlin and Tactical Flight Officer B.J. Hart, advised the dispatcher they were having issues and would be attempting to land.

Deputy Pilot McLaughlin immediately left the heavily populated area of Brooksville, flying toward an area where he could safely land the aircraft without endangering citizens. At approximately 10:15 p.m., Deputy Pilot McLaughlin landed the aircraft in a field near Brooksville Elementary School. Hernando County Fire and Emergency Services responded to the scene to check on McLaughlin and Hart. Both men were treated on scene and released.

The aircraft, an OH-58, remained on scene overnight. Early this morning the Aviation Mechanic and Chief Pilot responded back to the scene to determine the cause of the malfunction. If repairs cannot be made on scene, the aircraft will be trailered back to the HCSO Hangar.

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