L.A. Fire Helicopter Hit Trees During La Tuna Fire

(Photo: L.A. City Fire Department "Fire 4" shown above was the helicopter damaged in the incident September 2.)

A Los Angeles City Fire Department helicopter was heavily damaged after it struck trees while fighting the La Tuna Fire in the Verdugo Mountains, according to a preliminary incident report released by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The pilot of the $17-million Agusta-Westland AW-139 reported an, “uncommanded yaw to the right,” during a low altitude water drop September 2, and told the NTSB he had, “little positive control,” of the helicopter.

The main rotor blades hit a eucalyptus tree and the tail boom and horizontal stabilizer struck a pine tree, causing the damage, the report said.

The pilot and a co-pilot on board were not injured and made a forced landing at a school athletic field.

The Fire Department removed the helicopter and wreckage and it will be examined by the manufacturer, the NTSB said.

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