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9-inch helicopter stuck in Ohio courthouse statue

MARION, Ohio (AP) — An unwanted modern addition has flown into the arms of a Lady Justice statue that sits atop a county courthouse in north-central Ohio.


A small helicopter drone lies nestled in the grasp of Lady Justice Tuesday atop the Marion County Courthouse in Marion. The small helicopter camera platform, owned by Terry Cline on Marion, was whisked into the arms of Lady Justice by a gust of wind while photographing the Marion skyline. (AP Photo/The Marion Star, James Miller)

A 9-inch, remote-control helicopter flew into the Lady Justice statue on the Marion County Courthouse on April 27 and has been there since — resting on the hilt of her sword more than 100 feet high.

Terry Cline, a video producer, told the Marion Star that he was using the $1,500 camera-equipped helicopter to shoot an unsolicited promotional video for the city when it was caught by an unexpected breeze.

Since then, Cline has been trying figure out how to get the helicopter back, asking the county, the sheriff's department and firefighters for help. All to no avail.

The courthouse roof is considered unstable, so no one can walk on it. And county commissioners say they certainly aren't going to pay for or risk having someone lowered from a real helicopter to retrieve it.

One of Cline's ideas was for Sheriff Tim Bailey, a licensed pilot who owns a helicopter, to use the situation as a training exercise while also recovering the remote-control version.

Bailey disagreed.

"Look," the sheriff told The Columbus Dispatch. "Let's put this in perspective. He ran a helicopter into county property. It's no different than if someone hit the courthouse with their car. We took a report. We're done."

For now, Lady Justice looks like she'll keep her new toy indefinitely.

"It may sit up there for a long time because we are not spending county dollars," said Commissioner Andy Appelfeller. "We'd certainly like to have it down, without a doubt, but I don't think it's the public, their obligation to get it down."

Despite apparently being out of $1,500, Cline is keeping his sense of humor.

"All things considered ... this is pretty funny," he said.

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