Las Vegas Sun

September 17, 2019

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Metro Police helicopter crashes near downtown Las Vegas

helicopter crash

L.E. Baskow

A police helicopter sits damaged in the street at 23rd north of Bonanza Road after a crash landing on Wednesday, December 31, 2014.

Updated Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014 | 4:26 p.m.

LVMPD Helicopter Crashes

A crime scene investigator works the scene of a LVMPD helicopter down in the street at 23rd Street north of Bonanza Road after a crash landing on Wednesday, December 31, 2014. Launch slideshow »

A Metro Police helicopter crashed near downtown Las Vegas this afternoon, injuring two officers.

The helicopter landed in the road on 23rd Street near Bonanza Road around 1:30 p.m., according to Metro Deputy Chief Patrick Neville. Las Vegas Fire & Rescue arrived on the scene shortly after.

The helicopter did not catch fire, but the two Metro officers in the aircraft were taken to University Medical Center Trauma with minor injuries, according to Metro. They were both able to walk away from the incident, according to Neville, and at least one has a minor back injury.

The intersection at Bonanza and Eastern Avenue has reopened after being closed for a few hours.

The helicopter was in the area responding to a call about an ongoing battery incident when it experienced difficulty and was forced to land, police said.

"I would say it was some pretty good piloting skills in order to not hit houses, light poles or anything else in the area," Neville said. "The pilots, from what we saw, did an outstanding job of getting that helicopter down with no injury and no damage to the neighborhood."

Police say there are no reports that anyone on the ground was hurt or that any property other than the helicopter was damaged.

The helicopter was a Hughes 530, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. It's one of five helicopters Metro operates.

Police said the damaged helicopter will not affect their ability to monitor New Year's Eve activities on the Strip tonight.

Richard Kelley, who was on the scene of the accident this afternoon, said he was driving eastbound down McWilliams when he saw the helicopter pass over his car. It seemed to be preparing to land, but was traveling very quickly, Kelley said.

The helicopter appeared to only narrowly avoid hitting a house before skidding to a stop on the road and hitting a dumpster, Kelley said.

The FAA was at the site this afternoon and will perform an investigation alongside the National Transportation Safety Board to determine why the aircraft crashed.

In July of last year Metro Officer David Vanbuskirk, 36, was killed while helping hoist a stranded hiker to a rescue helicopter on Mount Charleston.

Metro also came under fire last year when two officers took a Guns N' Roses guitarist and his girlfriend on a helicopter ride as part of an elaborate marriage proposal.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Sun reporter Conor Shine and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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