Sheriff’s helicopter crashes while training in Hemet

A Riverside County sheriff’s helicopter crashed today at Hemet-Ryan Airport, destroying the aircraft but not seriously injuring the two-person crew.

The accident occurred around 11a.m during a training exercise on the northern end of the airfield, according to sheriff’s officials.

“While low flying over the runway, the helicopter crashed,” said Deputy Albert Martinez. “The crew members were able to walk away with minor injuries before being transported to a hospital for treatment.

The FAA is handling the accident investigation.

Agency spokesman Ian Gregor said the helicopter pilot was ”practicing landing with a simulated engine power outage” when the chopper plowed into the runway.

It is unclear if the pilot lost control or inadvertently dug a rotor blade into the pavement. The chopper landed on its side, the entire tail assembly sheared off and the craft’s main rotors bent.

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