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World & Nation

3 dead after helicopter crashes into home near Los Angeles

Three dead after helicopter crashes into Newport Beach home.
Los Angeles Times

Three people were killed and two injured after a helicopter crashed into a home in Newport Beach, Calif., on Tuesday, authorities said.

The five people involved in the crash included four people onboard and one pedestrian, said Newport Beach Police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella. It’s unclear who among them was killed and who was injured.

The two people who were injured were taken to a trauma center for treatment.

Newport Beach police and the Orange County Fire Authority responded to the single-family home on Shearwater Place in the Bayview Terrace community just before 2:20 p.m., authorities said.

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The coroner’s office was at the scene.

Eric Spitzer, of Spitzer Helicopter Leasing in Woodland Hills, said he owns the R44 helicopter that crashed.

“I really don’t know much yet,” Spitzer said via email.

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Federal Aviation Administration records show that the helicopter was registered to Spitzer Helicopter LLC in Canyon Lake in Riverside County.

It was manufactured in 2003 by the Robinson Helicopter Co., based in Torrance. The family-owned company’s two-seat R22 and four-seat R44 are among the most popular civilian helicopters in the world.

Lightweight and relatively affordable, they are a top choice for flight schools, police departments, sightseeing companies, ranchers and recreational pilots.

Tuesday’s crash was at least the third serious accident in Southern California in the last year involving an R44, National Transportation Safety Board records show.

In May, the pilot and two passengers aboard an R44 suffered serious injuries when it crash-landed on a golf-course maintenance yard near Santa Barbara.

Two months later, an R44 lost power and landed hard on a city street in Sherman Oaks, injuring the pilot and three passengers.

Ian Gregor, an FAA spokesman, said the four-seat helicopter crashed “under unknown circumstances” Tuesday at about 1:45 p.m. after taking off from John Wayne Airport.

“FAA inspectors are en route to the scene,” he said in an email.

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The NTSB also will investigate.

Police are asking motorists to avoid the area.

Times staff writers Joseph Serna and Alene Tchekmedyian contributed to this report.

hanna.fry@latimes.com

Fry writes for Times Community News.

kim.christensen@latimes.com

Twitter: @kchristensenLAT


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