**UPDATE: 9/5/22, 2:58pm: According to Glasgow/Barren County Emergency Management, the helicopter has been found. Family is being notified and no other info is available at this time.**
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Edmonson County emergency personnel are searching for a helicopter and pilot that officials believe went down somewhere in the southern part of the county on Saturday night, according to Edmonson County Emergency Management Director Terry Massey.
In a briefing today with members of local fire departments and the EC Rescue Squad, Massey told personnel that David Leroy Stone, II, (69) from Louisville, Tennessee, left St. Louis, MO sometime Saturday morning and was planning on making a stop in Glasgow. Massey said according to flight info and credit card tracking, Stone stopped sometime around 6pm on Saturday in KY near the Ohio River to refuel his aircraft, which Massey said was described as "an experimental helicopter."
Massey said there have been over 300 reported sightings of this helicopter; however, he said only one in his opinion seemed reputable.
"There was an elderly couple at the Butler-Edmonson County line that seen him about 150-200ft above the ground Saturday night," Massey said. "At 5:56 that night, his cell phone pinged the tower over on Willie Rhea Road. At that same time, there was a weather front coming through. It was raining. The weather front came through with a drastic drop in atmospheric pressure, so they think it may have put this little helicopter on the ground."
Both the Rocky Hill and Chalybeate Fire Departments were paged out around 1:30AM on Sunday morning to a report of a possible downed aircraft. According to radio traffic at that time, the FAA had requested assistance from local emergency crews as the area around Willie Rhea Road in the Chalybeate area was the last known contact area from the pilot.
Crews searched the farmland and area around Rhea Road but nothing was discovered and the short search was cancelled. Massey said the information given to him at that time was too general to coordinate a full scale search in the midst of crops and thick woods in the middle of the night. Information obtained Sunday and today by officials is now pointing back to southern Edmonson County as the last contact received from the pilot, and after coordinating with FAA officials at the Bowling Green-Warren County Airport, a local search was put back in place today.
"All I can say is pray for this guy," Massey told emergency crews.
Massey also said Stone is an experienced pilot who is a decorated war veteran from the Desert Storm and Iraq wars.
Airplanes have continued searching the areas since Sunday; however, pilots say the heavy wooded areas are too thick to see anything from the grounds underneath them from the air.
Rescue crews were coordinated today to search on the ground in two different groups in private wooded areas in the southern part of the county near HWY 743 in the vicinity of South Edmonson Elementary.
Another possible area to search is Park Boundary Road near Mammoth Cave National Park, Massey said, based on reliable information available at this time.
"I hope we find this individual alive," Massey said.