Pilot with local ties dies in crash
Retired Army helicopter pilot Daniel Ray Balcom, son of Charles and Ruth Balcom of Hartselle, was killed May 9 when the helicopter he was piloting crashed into an oil tanker 15 miles off the west coast of Africa.
Balcom, 55, was rescuing the helicopter from a burning oil tanker when the tragic accident occurred, according to his mother.
She said the helicopter her son flew was parked on an old oil tanker when it caught fire. A boat came and rescued the tanker’s crew. Her son jumped into the helicopter and took off for another oil tanker that was located about a mile away. He was in the process of landing the helicopter when it crashed into the tanker and fell into the ocean.
A funeral services and burial with military honors were conducted in Fayetteville, Tenn.
In addition to his parents, Balcom is survived by his wife and two children, a brother, two grandchildren and three stepgrandchildren.