LA County Sheriff helicopter crashes in the Angeles National Forest

The crew on board the aircraft was on its way to assist the fire department in the rescue of a casualty.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Eurocopter AS-332L2 Super Puma.Wikimedia Commons

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department helicopter crashed Saturday in the Angeles National Forest with six people on board. All are expected to survive, authorities said during a news conference. 

The passengers were five sheriff's deputies and one doctor, who were on a ride-along on the way to assist the fire department in the rescue of a passenger that was injured in a car accident, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said on TV. The crash happened just before 5 p.m. local time.

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A miracle

“They are in stable condition, some more banged up than others, but thankful to be alive,” Villanueva explained.

The outcome was “nothing short of a miracle,” he added.

The crash was the result of the aircraft suffering "a hard landing and a rollover," Villanueva added. "We're very thankful that everyone survived."

Five of the helicopter's passengers were airlifted to a hospital, and one was said to be in critical condition, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The victims consisted of the pilot, the co-pilot, a crew chief, two paramedics, and a doctor who wasn't injured.

The incident is now being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board, Villanueva said. The aircraft has been identified as a Eurocopter AS332L1.

Super Puma

This aircraft, also called the Super Puma, is a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-size utility helicopter developed and marketed by Airbus Helicopters. It first flew in 1978 and is a re-engined and more voluminous version of the original Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma.

Villanueva further said the helicopter crew performs between 500 and 700 rescues a year. "It was their turn to be rescued," he added. 

It seems that at least this time the bravery and dedication of the crew members were rewarded as all are expected to make it out of the accident safe and sound.

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