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5 killed in tourist helicopter crash in Smoky Mountains

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Sevierville (US): Five people died when a sightseeing helicopter crashed near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in eastern Tennessee, officials said.

The crash of the Bell 206 tourist helicopter was reported about 3:30 PM (local time) yesterday near Sevierville, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. She said in an email that officials said the helicopter was destroyed by fire.

About four hours after the crash, more than a dozen emergency vehicles were at the site, which is less than a mile from a large outlet mall in Sevierville. Smoke billowed over the wooded area. The Pigeon Forge Fire Department said it had units at the scene.

Tennessee Emergency Management Association spokesman Dean Flener confirmed late Monday afternoon that five people had died. Flener said no homes were damaged and no one on the ground was injured when the helicopter went down.

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