Two escape chopper crash uninjured |

Two escape chopper crash uninjured

Melissa Siig

SQUAW VALLEY – A privately owned helicopter crashed in the rugged Shirley Lake Canyon, but, miraculously, the two people on board were uninjured.

The 2002 Robinson R22 helicopter, based in Gardnerville, made a hard landing on Tuesday just outside the boundaries of the Squaw Valley ski resort around 2 p.m., the Placer County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The pilot and a passenger called the sheriff’s office to report the incident, relaying that they were unharmed and would walk out on their own, according to Lt. Jeffrey Granum. Concerned about the amount of snow still in the area, the sheriff’s office instructed them to remain in place and dispatched a California Highway Patrol helicopter to the scene. The pair were flown to the Truckee Tahoe Airport.

“There is still snow, so people start off brave, but after a couple of miles they start to slow down,” said Granum.

The cause of the accident is unknown. The Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Forest Service were all notified of the incident, although Granum said the agencies may not conduct an investigation since it was a non-injury accident.

The helicopter, which was found on its side by the CHP, apparently hovered just above ground before crashing. Granum speculated that the cause may have been wind related.

Removal of the downed helicopter is the responsibility of the owner’s insurance company.

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