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Sheriff's Helicopter Dumps Fuel Over Long Beach Before Emergency Landing

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A sheriff's helicopter at a separate emergency in 2008 | Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist
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A maintenance check flight yesterday afternoon ended up in near disaster for those on board the L.A. County Sheriff’s Air-5 Sikorsky. At about 12:40 when testing the helicopter over the Pacific Ocean, one of the two engines failed, prompting pilots to head back to Long Beach airport, according to Captain Mike Parker. But after detecting a significant loss of engine oil, preparations for an emergency landing were made.

In order to safely land, pilots had to dump fuel to lighten the aircraft. Fuel was dumped from about 1000 feet over Long Beach, including old Long Beach Naval Yard, loading docks, some residential areas and downtown Long Beach. Parker said the fire department received several calls from the public complaining of an unknown liquid falling from the sky on them. One person at Golden Shore RV Resort was hit by the fuel, but responding paramedics determined they were not injured, according to the Long Beach Press Telegram. A 100 to 200-foot slick of fuel was also seen in the water near a port pier.

The airship safely landed at Long Beach Polytechnic High School with no injuries occurring.