'Loudest bang I've ever heard': DPS troopers speak about crashing into flock of birds

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(Source: Arizona Department of Public Safety) (Source: Arizona Department of Public Safety)
"Right before that, I saw some birds and then they hit the aircraft," Townsend said. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) "Right before that, I saw some birds and then they hit the aircraft," Townsend said. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The impact of the birds shattered one of the helicopter's lower windows and scattered debris throughout the cockpit. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The impact of the birds shattered one of the helicopter's lower windows and scattered debris throughout the cockpit. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Haverly, an Army-trained pilot with more than 40 years experience, brought the damaged helicopter safely in a large and conveniently-located pasture. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Haverly, an Army-trained pilot with more than 40 years experience, brought the damaged helicopter safely in a large and conveniently-located pasture. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Troopers with the Arizona Department of Public Safety said it sounded like a cannon when they hit a flock of birds in their helicopter on April 29.

"Loudest bang I have ever heard in an aircraft," said pilot John Haverly.

Haverly and trooper and paramedic Daniel Townsend had one memorable flight when the chopper they were in collided with a group of birds.

[GRAPHIC PHOTOS: Bird strike damages DPS helicopter]

"Right before that, I saw some birds and then they hit the aircraft," Townsend said.

The pair were heading back to their base in Kingman after a late night of searching for a missing little girl near Williams when the impact happened around 1 a.m.

[ORIGINAL STORY: DPS helicopter damaged by bird strike back in service]

The impact of the birds shattered one of the helicopter's lower windows and scattered debris throughout the cockpit. For a bit, Townsend couldn't see.

"I was kind of instantly blinded by the debris from the aircraft, maybe blood, I don't know exactly what hit me," said Townsend.

"For me, the emergency is, what do I have? Checked my engine instruments, engine fine, transmission is fine, oil pressure, everything checked out well," said Haverly.

Haverly, an Army-trained pilot with more than 40 years experience, brought the damaged helicopter safely in a large and conveniently-located pasture. The damaged helicopter was repaired and put back in service on Monday.

"Absolute credit to the pilot. If it wasn't for his calm, cool, collected evaluation of the situation, you know, we might not be here," said Townsend.

A lot of people have made the link with the "Miracle on the Hudson" but Haverly and Townsend brushed it off, saying it's all in a day's work.

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