UPDATED: Pilot and passenger walk away from helicopter crash at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area


ROSEMEAD >> A pilot and passenger walked away from a small helicopter crash at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area early Saturday, authorities said.
The crash was first reported by a witness on the ground about 9:25 a.m. on an open field near the tennis courts at the east side of the large park, which sits along Rosemead Boulevard and the 60 Freeway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jorge Marchena said.
The two-seater helicopter ended up on it’s side, however the two people on board suffered no significant injuries, according to sheriff’s and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials.
“A Bell 47 helicopter rolled onto its side during an emergency landing in a park after losing engine power,” Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Lynn Lundsford said. “The pilot was not injured, his passenger sustained minor injuries.”
The passenger was ultimately taken to a hospital for treatment, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said. The pilot was not hospitalized.
Officials described the pilot as a man and the passenger as a woman.
Lundsford said the trip appeared to be a pleasure flight, but she did not have information regarding where the helicopter took off, and where it’s destination was.
A hazardous materials crew was summoned to the scene to deal with fuel that had spilled from the vehicle, fire Dispatch Supervisor Melanie Flores said.
About 100 gallons of aviation fuel was believed to have leaked from the helicopter, according to initial reports from the scene.
The helicopter crashed onto soft soil, officials said.
“They’re very lucky,” Marchena said. “They tried to make a hard landing, and it worked out for them.”
Marchena added that it was also fortunate no one on the ground was injured in the incident.
“There’s parts of the park that can get pretty populated,” he said.
The tail number written on the helicopter is registered to a 1958 Bell 47G helicopter owned by a Delaware-based corporation called 5847G LLC., according to an FAA database. It’s certification expired April 30.
The sheriff’s Aero and Parks bureaus were investigating the crash, along with the FAA.

PHOTO by William Camargo

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