NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) – A helicopter crashed into a Southern California home shortly after takeoff on Tuesday, killing three people and injuring two others, officials said.
The four-seat Robinson R44 went down at about 1:45 p.m. in the gated community in Newport Beach, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, authorities said.
The injured were taken to hospitals but there was no immediate word on their condition.
Fire Chief Chip Duncan confirmed the deaths and injuries, but could not say how many of the dead were aboard the aircraft. Four people were aboard the helicopter, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
A neighbor who heard the crash told KCAL-TV that he saw the pilot lying injured but alive on the grass and three other people inside the wreckage.
“We tried to pry them out but we didn’t want to touch them,” said the neighbor, who was not identified by the television station. “We didn’t want to take a chance of hurting anybody.”
“The three people were all crunched in there together,” he said. “One I could see moving an arm.”
The aircraft had taken off from John Wayne Airport, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. The airport is about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the crash site. There was no fire.