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"Beauty in a Tragedy": Fallen Soldier's Mom Finds Comfort in Helicopter 'Halo Effect'

Stunning images capture the “halo effect” – created when military chopper blades hit sand and dust. The glittering halos have been labeled as the Kopp-Etchells effect. They are named after United States Army Ranger Benjamin Kopp and British soldier Joseph Etchells. The two men were killed in Afghanistan in July 2009.


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Kopp’s mother, Jill Stephenson, told Fox and Friends, “What I see in it, even four years later, is the beauty in a tragedy. […] The way that we perceive things and the way that we look at them – to find the beauty in the tragedy is what helps us survive.”

Photojournalist Michael Yon took the photographs and explained more about the magnificent effect on Fox and Friends. Scientific teams in the UK and U.S. studied his photos to determine what causes it. He said the effect can be dangerous for the helicopters because they become an easy target when they light up the desert at night.

Yon knew Kopp and noted that he has stayed alive by way of donating his organs and saving a woman’s life.

Watch the interview above and check out photos of the Kopp-Etchells effect below.


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