March 14, 2011 by USA Post
The accident occurred around 9:40 at the Raytheon plant located at 2000 E. Boulevard El Segundo. The helicopter was lifting a large air conditioning unit of a building complex of offices, when the driver lost control and crashed, authorities said.
The helicopter landed on a balcony and caught fire, setting the first two floors of the burning building. “I am really shocked … see everything, “witness Juan Carlos Reyes told KTLA. “I hope I never see him again.”
Reyes said he looked like the cable carrying the load was taken on something. Then, after swinging back and forth, the helicopter descended.
“In his first crash, there was a pop … and the white smoke started coming out,” said Reyes. “Maybe two minutes later, black smoke, then started going out … and that’s when there was a huge explosion. ”
About 70 firefighters from El Segundo Fire Department were able to extinguish the fire in 40 minutes.
The pilot, a man in his 50s, was taken out of the cckpit right before the helicopter caught fire, according to the spokesman of the FAA Mike Fergus.
He was taken to a local hospital with broken bones, cuts and burns, and is expected to recover.
No other injuries were reported.
The helicopter was completely destroyed, Fergus said.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are now investigating the accident.
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