Howard County Police's helicopter made an emergency landing on the Wilde Lake High School football field late Thursday night, according to police.
Police said the helicopter was responding to a call around 11 p.m. Thursday when the pilot was forced to land due to a mechanical failure. The pilot spotted Wilde Lake High School nearby and initiated a landing, which caused significant damage to the helicopter, according to police. No one was injured during the landing.
In a picture provided by police it appeared part of the tail boom had broken off with the tail rotor.
Federal inspectors are expected on-scene Friday morning to investigate the cause of the incident. At this point, police do not know what the mechanical failure was or an estimate of the damage to the helicopter.
Police said the helicopter's maintenance was up-to-date and there was no indication of any problems with the helicopter. The helicopter was manufactured in 2006 and has been in service since 2007.
The review of the incident will be done by the Federal Aviation Adiministration and possibly the National Transportation Safety Board and will likely take a few months before a cause is determined, according to police.
Police did not release the names of the officers on board or the pilot. There were four officers on-board at the time of the incident: the pilot, a tactical flight officer, a flight officer in-training and a tactical flight officer from Anne Arundel County, according to police.
Anne Arundel and Howard share flight personnel and equipment and often fly together, said police.
A police spokesperson said the pilot has flown for the police department for 10 years and prior to that served as a commercial pilot and flight instructor.
There was minimal damage reported to the football field.
Wilde Lake Principal James LeMon sent a letter to parents this morning about the presence of the helicopter on the football field.
"We are not sure how long it will be there," wrote LeMon, "but they will be investigating the cause of the mechanical failure today."
Police said the helicopter is used for routine aerial patrol, support for planned events and unplanned uses such as high speed pursuits or burglary in progress calls.