Virginia State Police pilots assist with successful rescue in Bedford County

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) We're learning new details about a search in Bedford County last week that led to the safe rescue of a missing man.

Bedford County deputies received help from Virginia State Police when an elderly man with health problems and a partially-amputated leg disappeared from Franklin County last Tuesday.

A flight unit based in Campbell County flew above the search area with a helicopter Tuesday evening. They used a heat-sensing camera to try and locate the man, but initially they were unsuccessful.

When they returned to the area Wednesday morning, troopers spotted the man from the air and guided deputies on the ground to his location in a densely wooded area.

"Where he was located, we may not have found him," said Virginia State Police Trooper-Pilot Keith Kincaid. "As a ground team, with just boots on the ground, we may never have found him."

"To know that he may not have made it if we had not found him that day, that in itself is rewarding," said Virginia State Police Trooper Drew Skiff, who operated the heat-sensing sonar from the helicopter.

The state police flight unit in Campbell County is one of only three in the state. It's primarily used for search efforts and police investigations, but the helicopter is occasionally called on for medical transportation.