Pilots fought to save the helicopter before the deadly crash

Newport Beach, CA (AP) — A police helicopter pilot desperately tried to continue flying before crashing into the waters off Southern California last month, killing another police officer, investigators said in a preliminary report Wednesday. Stated.

Two Huntington Beach police officers reported a group fighting in an adjacent Newport Beach city when an aircraft crashed in the narrow waters of Newport Bay between Lido and the Balboa Peninsula on the night of February 19. Was responding to. According to witnesses, the boater hurriedly pulled the policeman away from the helicopter, which landed upside down in the shallows.

A pilot was injured and 44-year-old Nicholas Bella, a 14-year veteran of the police station, died in a crash.

Reserve report According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the helicopter orbits about 500 feet above the scene to keep the pilot pointing at the camera when the aircraft suddenly “yaws aggressively to the right.” It slowed down to.

The pilot tried to correct the rotation and stop, but instead the helicopter began a rotation descent, the report said.

According to the report, Bella, a tactical aviation officer, told police on the radio that “there is a mechanical problem right now,” and “we are down, down.”

Helicopter blades can continue to rotate from the air flow with or without reduced engine power. This is a process called autorotation, taught as an emergency operation, but the pilot told investigators that he was in a densely populated area and wanted to keep the engine running. The report said.

“Because it was dark, we didn’t have a horizon or an exact xref, but we could see the lights of the house approaching and felt the impact was imminent,” the report said.

The pilot slowed down the airspeed, and the helicopter hit the water on the right side where Bella was sitting.

“The pilot remembered a sudden smash and saw water and glass coming towards him when the canopy shattered. After feeling the rotor blades hitting the water, everything stopped and within a few seconds. Was submerged in water. “

The pilot used the rescue air bottle to breathe and managed to get off the helicopter before being rescued.

The cause of the crash was identified at the end of the NTSB’s investigation and could take 12-18 months, officials said.