TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)– The only Kansas Highway Patrol helicopter crashed early Friday morning and is out of commission.
The helicopter was helping the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in a search for a suspect. Just after midnight, the helicopter was landing at it’s hanger in Topeka when the tail rotor hit the building.
“After the tail rotor struck the hanger, the aircraft made a hard landing on the concrete,” KHP Lt. Adam Winters said.
Winters said the helicopter’s damage is very extensive, and they are not sure when it will be working again. This is the only helicopter that highway patrol has, and it is also used by law enforcement agencies around the state.
“We’re going to be out of luck for a while,” Winters said.
The helicopter was used two weeks ago in Perry in the search for a man who left the scene of an accident. Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Herrig said the helicopter is one of the most valuable tools they have. He said that just knowing the helicopter is there and can be used is comforting.
However, Riley County officers can’t remember the last time they used the helicopter.
“We haven’t used it very frequently, and hopefully we don’t need to in the future as well,” Riley County Public Information Officer Alexander Robinson said.
Until the helicopter is running again, KHP will send an airplane to agencies that request help.
KHP said the helicopter is insured, but they are not sure if they will fix it or get a new one.