Dawson County uses drone to locate downed aircraft

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PRESS RELEASE – Dawson County Sheriff’s Office issued the following press release to address the discovery of a downed aircraft last month.

Just after 9 AM on Friday, January 13th, DCSO was notified of a possible downed aircraft off of Shoal Creek Road in Dawson Forest WMA. 911 Operators dispatched deputies to the general area to begin searching. Deputy Blackstock was also summoned to respond the area and begin searching with the DCSO Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or more commonly referred to as “The Drone”.

Deputies began searching the area on foot, in vehicle and utilizing ATVs. These methods failed to locate the downed aircraft. Likewise, using the last known coordinates, Deputy Blackstock was able to quickly rule out that area.

He then began searching another area where a cell phone ping had been reported. This location was also ruled out.During this time frame, deputies received positive confirmation that the plane was missing and had most likely crashed.

The search area was expanded. Shortly after 10 a.m., Deputy Blackstock, utilizing the DCSO Drone located the crash atop a steep hill in a heavily wooded area.

Deputy Blackstock was able to provide a new set of coordinates to dispatch and began guiding patrol units to the scene of the accident.

Deputies were able to climb the steep hill and begin relaying information to dispatch which led to an investigation by the DCSO Criminal Investigations Division and a further investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and other federal agencies.

While our hearts break for the family and friends of the pilot, DCSO is proud of the work our deputies were able to accomplish using the tools at our disposal.

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