SoCal Chopper Loses Control, Kills Mechanic on Ground

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TELEMUNDO LOCAL

A helicopter mechanic is dead after the aircraft he had been working on tipped over just as it was about to take off from a landing zone in Santa Clarita.

The incident took place at 9:40 a.m. on a flat bluff above Boquet Canyon road near Vasquez Road.

The helicopter belonged to an aviation company based in Oregon. It had flown to the area from a local airport in advance of power line work for Southern California Edison.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's office says the chopper pilot had determined weather conditions were too poor and he was attempting a return to the airport hangar when the accident took place.

Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot "was in the process of lifting off" when the helicopter crashed. Although the rotor blades were fully deployed and running, it is unclear if the helicopter was off the ground at the time of the accident.

Although it remains under investigation, it appears a strong gust of wind may have toppled the helicopter.

The helicopter pilot suffered a minor injury, Gregor said. The helicopter's tail was split in two as the vessel lay upside down on a plateau. A big rig also sustained damage during the crash.

The tail registration number indicates the helicopter is an experimental helicopter built by Kaman Aerospace in 2003, and used for firefighting and industrial lifting projects, according to FAA records.

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