Dramatic video released Monday captured two California police helicopters colliding at a heliport, knocking an air support lieutenant on the ground as the blades smashed into pieces.
The surveillance video captured the Nov. 2012 incident at the Pasadena Police Benedict Heliport in Altadena, the National Transportation Safety Board report said. One helicopter departed just before 4 p.m. to provide traffic support for a college football game at the Rose Bowl. It was initially supposed to be gone for an hour, but returned minutes later because of bad weather.
The pilot told investigators she followed protocol and broadcasted her position before attempting to land. She surveyed the area to make sure there weren’t any aircrafts nearby and saw the second helicopter — that was preparing to take off — was on “landing pad 1.”
“The pilot was not sure if the main rotor blades were turning or not. The pilot continued the approach, and radioed her intention and location, but received no response from anyone,” the report stated.
The air support lieutenant, who was not identified, then walked outside to prevent the second helicopter from taking off. He saw the first helicopter trying to land and “thought that was a good thing.”
"He recalled hearing a loud bang, getting knocked to the ground, and then running away [from the parked helicopter]," the NTSB report said.
The lieutenant was seen on the video being thrown to the ground, then jumping to his feet to avoid being hit by the debris. One of the helicopter’s rotor blades completely detached and landed 10 feet away.
Six people were injured in the incident.