Police Helicopter Rescues Downed Pilot
The pilot of a Tampa Police helicopter and his partner say they were just doing their jobs when they landed beside the burning wreck of a Cessna 210 and pulled its pilot to safety on Thursday. Pilot Dave Dennison and partner Brian Burke were on routine patrol just before midnight when they heard the distress call from the pilot of the 210, which was carrying freight from Valdosta, Ga., to Tampa. "I've lost oil pressure," 58-year-old Mark Love reported to air traffic control. He didn't declare an emergency and told controllers he thought he'd make the field but the aircraft came down short of the runway in an open area and Gentry and Dennison tracked it with their onboard infrared camera. Dennison landed and Gentry ran to the aircraft, which had a small fire going in the engine compartment. He pulled Love clear and he was taken to the hospital, where he was first reported in critical condition.
Gentry told reporters that while the circumstances were different, their actions were basically the same as those carried out by other officers in the line of duty. "It's just part of the job. It's nothing that a thousand other officers every day for T.P.D. do for an automobile crash. We were just fortunate enough to have a video running and it was something as unique as an aircraft,” Gentry told WFLA television. The aircraft was registered to Flight Express Inc., a subsidiary of AirNet Cargo, of Columbus, Ohio.