On Wednesday, Oct. 27, at approximately 3:30 p.m., a military helicopter experiencing technical problems hovered above Thomas Dale High School before descending directly onto the athletic field of the freshman campus.
Witnessing this rare occurrence was Spencer Phillips, 16, a sophomore at Thomas Dale’s main campus, who was waiting for his mother to take him home.
“I was staying after school for National Honor Society when I first saw it above,” said Spencer. “I had no idea what was happening.”
As the helicopter began its descent, Spencer, anticipating the landing spot, quickly made his way to the freshman campus.
“I called my mother and told her about it, then walked over there,” he said.
According to Spencer, from a distance he experienced the “slow, controlled landing” of the helicopter close enough to take a picture of the incident with his cell phone. Once the helicopter landed, the pilot and crew, noticing him observing, invited Spencer to get a closer look at the helicopter. They apparently sensed his curiosity.
“I stood at the fence, and then they said I could come closer,” said Spencer. “They told me the motor on top had messed up and they had to land to fix it.”
Spencer did not stay much longer and did not see their departure. As his mother, Kathy Phillips, arrived with her camera in hand, she took a picture of administrators from the high school investigating the rare occurrence.