Three people were killed while two others were injured when a helicopter crashed into a home in Southern California Tuesday.
According to officials, a four-seat Robinson R44 helicopter went down at around 1:45 p.m. inside a gated community in Newport Beach.
The Federal Aviation Administration said four people were on board the chopper when it crashed. One of the killed victims was a bystander on the ground. The two injured persons were rushed to the hospital, but their conditions are still unknown.
Witnesses saw a plume of smoke as the R44 went down. It clipped the tile roof of one home and skidded on the ground across a residential intersection before crashing into a wall of another home.
One of the residents living near the crash site said it sounded as if a train was coming through. A witness said he saw the pilot lying on the grass, injured but alive. Three other people were inside the helicopter’s wreckage.
“We tried to pry them out but we didn’t want to touch them,” said one of the neighbors. “We didn’t want to take a chance of hurting anybody.”
The residents of the home that was struck by the chopper were at home. Luckily, they were in another part of the house and were not harmed in the incident.
The crashed R44 was owned by Spitzer Helicopter LLC of Canyon Lake in Riverside County. According to the company’s Eric Spitzer, he leased the helicopter to Revolution Aviation, which is based at John Wayne Airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed that the helicopter had taken off from the John Wayne Airport, which is about a mile from the crash site.
According to police, investigatory work at the crash site may take several days to complete, but residents will still be allowed able to access their homes.