Helicopter crash hero owns local home | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Helicopter crash hero owns local home

Michael Schneider

The pilot of a crashed Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter who steered the crippled aircraft away from residences and likely saved lives Monday has a residence in South Lake Tahoe.

Steven Robinson, who survived the crash and is in serious but stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, recently built a house with his father on Silverwood Circle.

He underwent surgery on a fractured right leg and suffered a concussion, according to Adelaida De La Cerda, spokeswoman for County-USC Medical Center.



Robinson, 32, of Agoura, and his medical team responded to a vehicle crash Monday morning to airlift an 11-year-old girl who had life-threatening head injuries.

The chopper was en route to a Los Angeles area hospital when it plunged to the ground, said Deputy Fire Chief Davis Parsons.



About 10 minutes into the flight, the pilot “was in trouble for whatever reason,” and appeared to steer the aircraft to avoid homes, Parsons said.

The helicopter reportedly lost its tail rotor and clipped trees before slamming onto a grassy area. Authorities found a piece of tail rotor a half mile from the crash site.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Janet La Pietra, Griffith Park resident, saw the crash and Robinson’s heroic actions.

“He wanted to land, but I guess he was avoiding the homes,” the Times quoted La Pietra as saying.

Nancy Geczy, of Tahoe City, whose son has been a longtime friend of Robinson’s, said heroics are inherent in Robinson’s personality.

“If you needed to rely on someone, I’d be glad Steve’s the one,” Geczy said. Robinson and Geczy’s son went through the Los Angeles Fire Academy together and shared an apartment.

The crash killed Michael A. Butler, 33, a firefighter-paramedic from Arleta; Michael McComb, 38, a helicopter crewman from Crestline; Eric F. Reiner, 33, a firefighter-paramedic from Carson; and Norma Vides, the 11-year-old automobile crash victim.

Firefighter Dennis Silgen, 52, of Thousand Oaks, was injured in the crash, and is also in serious but stable condition at County-USC Medical Center. Silgen suffered facial fractures and a fractured hip and leg. He underwent surgery Monday to clean out his leg wound, De La Cerda said.

Geczy said Robinson and his father, Dennis, fly to the basin from Los Angeles whenever they have the opportunity.

Robinson was in South Lake Tahoe over the holidays and spends a lot of time here during the summer, according to Geczy.

“He’s a remarkable young man,” Geczy said. “He’s a hero for getting the copter down away from those homes.

“His efforts prevented more loss of life.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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