As a Huntington Beach police helicopter pitched violently toward John Wayne Airport late Saturday, spinning, twisting and tilting amid a mechanical malfunction, its two pilots were able to right the aircraft and then land without damage or major injuries, police said.
The HB1 copter was flying over Newport Beach assisting on a call just before 11 p.m. when the pilots reported a mechanical problem and asked the airport for permission to make an emergency landing, the Huntington Beach Police Department said Monday.
Members of the Orange County Fire Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration joined John Wayne Airport authorities in awaiting the helicopter’s arrival.
“Without the experience of the pilots, their calm demeanor and years of training, this could have been a catastrophe for our pilots and others on the ground,” Huntington Beach police said in a statement.
The department said Tuesday that it could not yet provide details of what happened. The helicopter has been in service since 2008 and had no record of mechanical issues, police said.
The National Transportation Safety Board was notified of the incident and all Huntington Beach Police Department helicopters were removed from service until the cause of the malfunction is determined, police said.
This article was originally published at 11:25 a.m. and was later updated with additional information.