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2 Injured as Engine of Helicopter Fails

April 01, 1985

Two people were injured Sunday when a helicopter carrying five people on a sightseeing trip over Mission Bay lost power and made a crash landing in a parking lot, authorities reported.

The helicopter, operated by Bluebird Express, sustained slight damage and was still on its belly in the parking lot near Dana Landing in Mission Bay Park late Sunday afternoon.

Bluebird employee Christine Pennington said the Bell Jet Ranger, which took off from Montgomery Field, was at an altitude of about 1,000 feet when the engine failed about 12:30 p.m.

Pennington said the helicopter's auto-rotation system kept the rotor spinning until the pilot could make the emergency landing. She said the aircraft's landing skids were knocked "spread eagle" and the windshield broken by the impact.

Passenger Gary Toomer was listed in serious condition with back injuries at Sharp Cabrillo Hospital, where he was taken by paramedics. Another passenger, Barbara Stevenson, was treated at the hospital and released. The pilot and two other passengers escaped injury.

Pennington said the company was unable to immediately determine what caused the engine failure.

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