A drunk driver struck and damaged a Cobra helicopter display in South Carolina last week.
The accident happened just off of the Columbia Airport Expressway, WTLX-19 reported. The helicopter was a historic retired service helicopter now rendered inoperable and known as “Annie.”
No injuries were reported following the accident, however, the helicopter suffered an estimated half a million dollars in damages, according to WCBD-TV.
“He hit the aircraft and steered off the landing gear that she sits on,” said Stephen Seymour, executive director of the Celebration Freedom Foundation (CFF).
CFF has claimed the incident was caused by a drunk driver and the South Carolina Highway Patrol appeared to confirm that assessment in a tweet.
Sober or slammer! The driver who wrecked into this helicopter was arrested for DUI! This holiday season, drink responsibly!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/8oDbGpmN01
— Trooper David SCHP (@SCHP_Troop1) December 19, 2019
“Annie served in the United State’s army from 1967 to 2001. She did five years in Vietnam. She did the Persian Gulf war and she got taken out by a drunk driver,”said Seymour, who himself is a two-time Purple Heart recipient. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work from our veterans and our volunteers and it’s going to take a lot of resources to put this aircraft back into the condition where I can get her back out there doing her job.”
Annie has been part of STEM programs through the CFF since 2014. Some 150 schools and some 100,000 students have reportedly interacted with the attack helicopter.
“My heart hurts so bad because of all the hard work that everyone has put into this aircraft,” said Lori Wicker, director of the CFF STEM Program.
Wicker said, “We would go to schools and they’re like this is a real thing. Everything they learn is school is somewhere on this helicopter. You’ve got your science, your engineering, your technology and your math.”
The CFF, which is a non-profit organization, is hopeful that the aircraft will be restored.
“They don’t make these anymore,” Wicker said. “These are our history.”