Tragedy In Pigeon Forge


Photo Taken from Photo taken by Wade Payne

Emergency vehicles on the scene after a helicopter crashes in Pigeon Forge.

Pigeon Forge is an area that is familiar to most who live in the East Tennessee region. It is known as place for a vacation getaway, with activities and shopping centers for those who just wanted to take a break. One of these more “touristy” things is the helicopter tours that gives a bird’s eye view to those riding.


Unfortunately, five people including the pilot, were killed recently in one of these tours.


What started off as a leisurely ride morphed into the last activity these five would ever do or see.

It’s heartbreaking situation, especially after the bodies on board were identified–discovering that some were related.


The minute it happened it was all over the news, both locally and nationally. The tragedy of what was supposed to be a simple ride rocked the community and country. To think that it happened so close to home is what is the most unnerving to many.


The crash also brought memories back of the similar helicopter crash at Pearl Harbor earlier this year, where a sixteen year old was killed. The horror of this crash caught entirely on film.


But unlike the crash in Hawaii, there is no video to identify what exactly happened to the helicopter in Pigeon Forge. From reports it seems that the helicopter hit something early in it’s flight, a tree or cliff possibly, and then had a malfunction causing the chopper to crash. However this is still speculative.

Much of what happened is still shrouded in mystery, and it could be over a year before the full story of what exactly happened comes to light. Unlike with planes there is no black box to record the last few precious seconds that could reveal what exactly took place.


From this disaster a discussion among the community, and the nation has occurred. That conversation being should tourist rides such as these really be flown? Over communities full of innocent people going about their day lives no less?


This is not the first time a proposal for banning these has emerged. Back in the 90’s the people of Pigeon Forge had originally complained about the tours and tried to get them banned from going over the town, as they were a noise disturbance.


Obviously that law never passed, but in the recent events mentioned above, it is being seriously considered.


Should the tours be outlawed to prevent tragedies like this from happening again, or do these companies have the right to fly? After all they have the right to make a business from this, as long as they follow government guidelines and take liability. This is a matter of opinion, that only you can answer.


But above all else, our hearts go out to those who were killed in the crash and their families. No amount of coverage or debate on the helicopters can ever bring back what they have lost. Why is it only in the face of tragedy that reforms are made?


The reason is different to every living body on Earth, but for a majority it’s to prevent something no one thought could harm, to it happening again.


Sources:,, and