We are learning more about a helicopter crash at a Tennessee Valley Authority site in Graves County Monday. The helicopter crashed just north of Route 849.
The pilot, John Randy Love of Maryville, Tennessee, died in that crash. He was the only one in the helicopter, and a TVA spokesperson says he worked for the company for 17 years. The cause of death is not yet known. A TVA spokesperson says TVA is saddened by the loss.
TVA spokesman Chris Stanley says Love was a very safe pilot, who had gone to the Graves County site to pick up a second person to perform routine flyover inspections on transmission lines.
Stanley says their focus is now on safety and taking care of the family —Love's family and their TVA family.
"Our hearts grieve for the family of Randy Love, because we lost a family member today, and that's something you never want to have happen," Stanley says.
Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration are traveling to Graves County from Atlanta Monday to investigate the cause of the crash. TVA police will be on site until FAA investigators arrive. The Kentucky State Police is involved in the death investigation.
People who live near the TVA site say they've watched helicopters land and take off many times over the years, and they were shocked to learn what happened.
"When I hear a helicopter, I'll come out and watch them land," neighbor Barbara Toon says. "I love it."
Toon says she'll walk down her street to watch the helicopters fly in and take off in the distance.
"I heard the helicopter went over, because you always hear them, and then I heard the boom. And I thought he hit a tree or something else," Toon says.
But she says for some reason she didn't watch the helicopter land Monday. And learning a man lost his life, she says shes glad she didn't see it.
"You just pray nothing like this ever happens," Toon says.
KSP Sgt. Kyle Nall says, with Post 1 so close to the site, troopers were able to get there quickly. "I was here within two to three minutes of the call coming in," he says.
But he remembers another recent plane crash in our area, and he says events like those are always tragic.
"It's been a lot of unusual events that have occurred in the last year here at Post 1, or in our region, anyway," Nall says.
Toon says knowing someone she probably saw take of and land at the TVA site before has died breaks her heart.
"Our prayers are with the family," Toon says.
A TVA spokesperson said TVA is now helping Love's family, as well as the TVA family
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Paducah, KY 42003