BETHEL ACRES, Okla. — An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper was injured Friday night when his plane crashed in Pottawatamie County while helping in the search for a person who had been involved in a car accident, authorities said.
Patrol spokeswoman Betsy Randolph said the trooper who was flying the plane was taken by helicopter to a hospital and his injuries appeared to be "very serious." The crash happened near Bethel Acres.
The trooper was helping search for a person who was believed to have been injured in a car accident and appeared to stumble into a wooded area, Randolph said.
Randolph said that at some point during the search, the person started to try to elude authorities. But the trooper found the suspect and was able to direct other officers to the area. Deputies said the trooper's plane was about 80 feet off the ground. They heard him whistle, he dipped the plane's wings and pointed to where the person was hiding, Randolph said.
As sheriff's deputies started heading to the area, the trooper's plane stalled and then went nose-down into the ground, she said. Officers took the person into custody, while others headed to the crash site.
When sheriff's deputies reached the plane, it was engulfed in flames, Randolph said. They pulled the unconscious trooper away, he then came to and was able to tell deputies his name, she said.
Randolph said sheriff's deputies believe the person they were searching for was intoxicated.
The injured trooper's name has not been released.