KILLEN — A longtime Shoals businessman, Milton Hearn, was injured Saturday after the helicopter he was piloting was involved in a low-altitude crash.

Lauderdale County law enforcement officials responded to the crash Saturday morning that left Hearn injured from trying to fly the helicopter onto a trailer to take it for repairs.

Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency Director George Grabryan said the accident was reported at 11:50 a.m. from 870 Spring Cove Road, near Killen.

Hearn, who owned the aircraft, was flown to Huntsville Hospital. His injuries included broken bones, but officials did not elaborate on their extent.

Lauderdale Sheriff Ronnie Willis said Hearn was in the aircraft alone at the time of the accident as his friend (Shoals businessman) Tim Rhodes was trying to direct Hearn onto the trailer. The trailer was located near the edge of a dock. The chopper missed the trailer, but didn’t go into the water. Rhodes, who was not injured, worked to free Hearn from the aircraft.

Alabama Marine Police responded for precautionary measures as did the Alabama State Troopers, St. Florian Police, the Lauderdale Sheriff’s Department and volunteer fire departments of Mid-Lauderdale and Greenhill.

“We don’t know the extent of his injuries, but it was obvious that he needed medical attention quickly,” Willis said

Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or


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