WASHINGTON — An Eastern Airlines shuttle flight to New York on Tuesday aborted takeoff at National Airport to avoid a helicopter in its path and skidded into a grassy area off a runway 130 feet from the Potomac River, authorities said. No serious injuries or damage were reported.
FAA spokesman Bob Buckhorn said that the helicopter pilot had been given departure instructions that should have carried him in an easterly direction. Instead, he turned northwest and into the path of the Boeing 727, which was taking off toward the north.
Officials said that there were 175 passengers and seven crew members aboard the Eastern flight.