Helicopter Crashed Under Coronado Bridge

By Michelle Wayland
|  Monday, Aug 23, 2010  |  Updated 6:56 AM PDT
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They say the chopper ran into mechanical problems soon after it took off and Read more." />

They say the chopper ran into mechanical problems soon after it took off and "crashed" into the bay just before 6:30 p.m.Read more.

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Helicopter Crashed Into San Diego Bay

The chopper took off from a yacht and quickly got into trouble.
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A civilian helicopter went down in San Diego Bay Sunday evening and landed upside down underneath the Coronado Bridge, according to Harbor Police.

They say the chopper ran into mechanical problems soon after it took off and "crashed" into the bay just before 6:30 p.m.

A harbor patrol boat saw what happened. Officer Tim Wright was the first rescuer to get to the pilot.

“The fear is… it’s going down and we don’t want him to go down with it,” Wright said.

The 69-year-old pilot was able to speak and say he was the only person onboard.

The pilot had taken off from a yacht called 'Leight Star.’ It was docked behind the San Diego Convention Center, Harbor Police said.
Sylvia Estrada was at Seaport Village when her husband noticed the chopper was in trouble.

Estrada had been videotaping their day, so she turned her camera on the aircraft. The helicopter came down so fast and hard she lost sight of it in her view finder.

“It shocked me. My heart was pounding,” Estrada said.

The pilot was taken to UCSD Medical Center with non life-threatening injuries.

The damaged helicopter was sitting on a barge in the bay Sunday evening to preserve the evidence because the aircraft is being treated as a crime scene.

The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to take over the investigation.

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