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Copter pilot who died flew too low

January 27, 2008|Jason Song | Times Staff Writer

The pilot who died after crashing his helicopter on the Harbor Freeway late Friday was flying too low and hit overhead power lines shortly before the accident, California Highway Patrol officials said Saturday.

The man was flying alone from El Monte Airport to Torrance Municipal Airport and was not talking to air traffic controllers when he crashed about 11 p.m., said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor. The pilot has not yet been identified because his body was too badly burned.

The pilot, who was flying a Robinson R22 helicopter, struck power lines north of Century Boulevard and landed in the southbound lanes of the Harbor Freeway near Imperial Highway. No drivers were hurt, but the freeway was closed until 4:20 a.m. Saturday.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is in charge of determining the cause of such accidents, has not completed its investigation.

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jason.song@latimes.com

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