Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Officials from Mammoth Cave National Park have confirmed the helicopter crash and fatality that was reported to the Edmonson Voice by Edmonson County Emergency Management earlier today.
According to a press release from MCNP, at approximately 4:00PM on Monday, September 5, law enforcement officers from Mammoth Cave National Park received notification that a helicopter crash with a single fatality had been located inside the park’s southern boundary. The pilot, David Stone, age 69 of Louisville, TN, had been flying alone from St. Louis, MO to Knoxville, TN on Saturday, September 3 before contact was lost with his aircraft. Mr. Stone was found dead at the scene.
The press release also said that park service officials were originally notified of the potential downed helicopter around 10:30 am Monday. Information from the last location and eyewitnesses accounts placed the helicopter within close proximity to the park. Park staff assisted Barren and Glasgow County Emergency Management, Edmonson County Emergency Management, and Kentucky State Police by searching park areas accessible by roads and trails. The helicopter was located late afternoon by a search helicopter.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation by the National Park Service and the National Traffic Safety Board.
Edmonson County Emergency Management Director Terry Massey told the Edmonson Voice around 4:35PM today that park officials had confirmed the crash happened inside the park and they would oversee the rest of the investigation. He also said the pilot, David Stone (69) of Louisville, TN, was also found deceased.
Massey said at first, he understood the crash to be near the park boundary but on private property in Edmonson County and that he was coordinating recovery efforts with local emergency officials.
"The National Park Service called me and told me to stand down with my guys," Massey said. "They said it was on the park so it was a park issue and their people would handle it."
Massey said Edmonson County emergency personnel disbanded their command center, which was set up at South Edmonson Elementary School.