Federal transportation safety investigators began a probe into a Pasadena police helicopter collision that left five officers and a civilian wounded.
The National Transportation Safety Board sifted through the wreckage of the severely damaged police helicopters at the Pasadena Police Department’s Benedict Heliport in Altadena.
Pasadena Police Chief Philip Sanchez turned over all the records, surveillance video and police investigation to the NTSB, which will determine how the helicopters crashed.
“This is the first time that this kind of catastrophic incident has happened,” Sanchez said. “We need a little bit of patience to see what comes out of this."
The choppers crashed about 4 p.m. Saturday at the heliport at 2175 Yucca Lane. One of the choppers was taking off and the other was landing. The main rotor of one struck the other, officials said.
The pilots of the Bell OH-58 helicopters, their passengers and two others on the ground were wounded. All had minor wounds. They were released from the hospital on Sunday.
The crash happened as one officer was standing on the port side of a helicopter talking to the pilot, Sanchez said, without elaborating.
“What I’m concerned about is my people getting healthy (and) the NTSB conducting a thorough investigation,” Sanchez said.
NTSB investigators were expected to interview the pilots in the coming days, officials said.
One helicopter was patrolling the skies above the USC-UCLA game at the Rose Bowl. The other chopper was patrolling above neighborhoods in Pasadena. The department operates a fleet of four helicopters.
Neighboring police agencies have offered to volunteer extra helicopter patrols if Pasadena needs the help, officials said.