Pilot is hurt when San Diego news helicopter flops over while landing

News 8 helicopter crash
A helicopter crashed Tuesday afternoon at Gillespie Field in San Diego County. The pilot sustained minor injuries, police said.
(John Gibbins / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

A television news helicopter rolled onto its side while landing Tuesday afternoon near a hangar on Gillespie Field, sending the pilot to a hospital with minor injuries, authorities said.

The Bell 206B helicopter — wrapped with CBS News 8 graphics but shared by several local news stations — crashed at about 2:10 p.m. at a hangar off Kenney Street in Santee, on the north end of El Cajon’s Gillespie Field, according to Santee Fire Chief John Garlow and Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer.

For the record:

3:41 p.m. Aug. 28, 2019This story has been corrected to indicate that the helicopter passenger suffered minor injuries and was taken to a hospital. The pilot was not injured.

Two people on board the aircraft were able to free themselves, Garlow said, adding that at least one was reportedly taken by medics to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego.


“Preliminary reports are neither [occupant] was seriously injured,” Kenitzer said in an email.

The chopper “went down within the grounds of the airport” and the pilot suffered minor injuries, El Cajon police Lt. Royal Bates said in an email.

Santee firefighters extinguished a small fire at the scene and were dealing with a fuel spill, Garlow said. Hazardous-materials crews from the city and county of San Diego also responded to the scene to help deal with the fuel spill.

The tail section of the helicopter broke off, and its top rotor blades appeared mangled.

According to local television stations, the helicopter is operated by a third party and shared by five San Diego media outlets, including 10News, CBS 8 and NBC 7 San Diego.

By about 3:30 p.m., a small crane had lifted the helicopter upright onto its skids.

Kenitzer said the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

Riggins writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.