Two Aircraft Including Polk County Sheriff’s Office Helicopter Down in Ft. Meade, Occupants Safe

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Authorities are in the Fort Meade area on a rescue mission at this time, coordinating with other agencies to retrieve two pilots from two aircraft that both had hard landings.

The first aircraft is a gyrocopter that had a hard landing/went down on Mosaic property, nearest cross street County Line Road East, near Manley Road.

While the PCSO helicopter was above that scene, it had a hard landing/went down.

On Thursday, October 3, 2019 at around 2:00 p.m., the Polk County Sheriff’s
Office was notified that a gyro-copter had gone down on Mosaic property near
Manley Road and County Line Road, near Bowling Green.

The PCSO helicopter responded to the scene and upon arrival, the gyro-copter
pilot was seen standing and waving.

At about 3:00 p.m., the PCSO helicopter also went down. The pilot of the PCSO
helicopter was able to communicate to other deputies on the scene that he was
fine, but both pilots were stuck in the pond, which was made up of soft clay.

The two pilots could not be reached by deputies on foot, boats, or all-terrain
vehicles, and additional agencies responded to assist.

“I’d like to thank the other agencies who came out this afternoon such as Polk
Fire Rescue, FWC, Mosaic personnel, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office,
Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Coast Guard. This was
an extraordinary situation, and we’re happy that both men were not seriously
hurt.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff.

A Coast Guard helicopter was able to pull the men out of the pond, and both
men were transported to a local hospital to be checked.

At this time, police are not able to release the name of the pilot of the
gyro-copter.

The pilot of the PCSO helicopter is Lavon Hughes, 52, who has been with the
Polk County Sheriff’s Office since July of 2007. The helicopter he was flying
is an OH-58.

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