A fully-restored military helicopter was heavily damaged in transport Monday morning on the IDL in Tulsa. The Huey helicopter was knocked off a trailer after hitting a sign on southbound Highway 75.
The Vietnam-era helicopter was on its way from the Tulsa Air and Space Museum to the Tulsa Veterans Day parade.
"As we were coming into downtown, one of the wires that had the blades secured on the helicopter came loose," said Undersheriff Tim Albin, Tulsa County Sheriff's Department.
"As I was talking to the driver telling him to stop, the air caught the blade and flipped it up, into one of the traffic signs. When it caught that blade, it just peeled it right off the trailer."
Veterans were at the scene of the wreck and they say for them, it's more than a machine, it's almost like losing a brother in arms.
Vietnam veteran Hobie Hammond got the helicopter from a Fayetteville museum. It was decommissioned in Arkansas for display at TASM.
Hammond is a 70-year-old former Huey helicopter pilot. He said veterans of Vietnam have a great deal of pride in the Huey and what it meant to those who heard it coming.
The helicopter was on the highway at the IDL bridge. Wreckage from the railing on the walkway that had been attached to the bottom of the Joplin-1st Street sign was wrapped around the rotor of the helicopter.
Because of the crash, all southbound 75 traffic was detoured onto the north leg of the IDL. Tulsa Police, Sheriff's Office deputies and Department of Transportation officials are on scene.
Storey Wrecker had to cut the rotors and other sections from the helicopter. They had it loaded back on the transport trailer by about noon Monday.
The helicopter was to go on display at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum as a permanent tribute to Tulsa-area Vietnam veterans.
Museum staff will begin looking for a new helicopter.