Helicopter Crashes at North Island; 4 People Hospitalized

Coronado fire department is assisting with rescue efforts, police say. Dispatches from emergency responders indicate their injuries are not life threatening.

Updated, 1:55 a.m. Thursday, with details from North Island officials.

Coronado Police have confirmed that a helicopter was involved in an accident at North Island Naval Air Station late Wednesday, and said they have not been called in for aid, but a battalion chief from the fire department was on scene.

North Island officials called the 11 p.m. incident “a hard landing” involving a Navy MH-60R helicopter and said the activity had been part of a routine training session.

The details were provided as part of a 1:35 a.m. news release.

The officials said four HSM-75 crew members were operating the aircraft. Two were taken to UCSD Medical Center and two to Scripps Mercy.

The Navy did not provide an update on their conditions, but a scanner-monitoring service reported that the injuries suffered by those involved in the crash are not considered critical or life threatening.

An investigation is being conducted into the cause of the crash.

Conflicting information was released in the wake of the crash via media and other Navy officials.

Some reports, including those by U-T San Diego and CBS8, indicate live ammunition may have been aboard the helicopter though the scanner monitor noted that by midnight first responders said none had been found. 

A Navy spokesman also told U-T San Diego that the injured were taken to San Diego Naval Medical Center, not the two hospitals that North Island officials cited.

Early reports of the crash indicated that the aircraft had hit a building. According to recent broadcasts over the police and fire bands, everything west of the North Island control tower is closed, and base command is considering closing the entire airfield.

North Island officials did not comment in their release on whether operations at the airfield had resumed.

More than 150 helicopters are based at NAS North Island, the Navy's West Coast Master Helicopter Base, according to the Department of Defense.

NAS North Island helicopter squadrons train at Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach.

According to militaryaerospace.com the MH-60R Seahawk is a twin turboshaft engine, multi-mission helicopter based on the UH-60 Black Hawk and can be armed with Mk-54 torpedoes and Hellfire missiles. 

Andy Arciga December 13, 2012 at 04:30 PM
If the helos keep flying as close as they do to the north fence and continue to break FAA height ceilings as they fly over IB,we will eventually have one crash into inhabited dwellings. I've reatedly complained to the Navy but in typical military behavior,they ignore comments from civilians.
Shorebird December 13, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Oh Boy, this will start a rash of "not in my backyard, get the Navy out of here" hollering. Glad no one was killed, Bless them all for putting their lives on the line everyday for all of us. They were here long before my subdivision, and probably bring the most money into this town and keeping us alive in more ways than one. But take it City Council and they just might find a way to move the Navy out of IB and Coronado. They do well at killing off everything off with secret agreements..
Joe December 13, 2012 at 05:00 PM
By the way. Helicopters have no altitude restrictions. The CFR 91 states they have to fly at a safe altitude. The Navy plays nice and restricts helos to be nice neighbors.
T Truth December 13, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Andy, those airfield were there before you were. You are a prick.
John Galt December 13, 2012 at 05:15 PM
I hope everyone recovers and continue their service to our country.
Mickey Mouse December 13, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Easy on the drama trevor. Flying on a helicopter on mundane training missions in coronado is NOT risking your life everyday son. I speak from experience. Since you mentioned it, exactly what is the threat to us here in SoCal that you say you are "protecting us from" everyday? Semper Fi ... (Hint; Dont get too salty on a public forum sailor)
Andy Arciga December 13, 2012 at 06:17 PM
T Truth,You have to be one to know one. My contention here is not anti-Navy but the Navy could greatly reduce noise by more utilization the south side of NOLF and keeping the people who live along fence safer and reduce the noise levels we are currently exposed to on a daily basis. Joe,FAA minimum ceiling level is 1600 ft when flying over residential areas.
Reality December 13, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Andy- incorrect, Joe- correct. Please see (specifically B and D) ·91.119 Minimum safe altitudes; general Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes; (a) ·Anywhere. ·An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface. (b) ·Over congested areas. ·Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2.000 feet of the aircraft. (c) ·Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In that case, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure. (d) ·Helicopters. ·Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed In paragraph (b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator. 1600 feet would be required if your house was 600 feet tall and an aircraft flew within a 2000 ft radius of it. Helicopters arent restricted to those altitudes per section D.
Nell December 13, 2012 at 07:00 PM
My thoughts and prayers with the injured and their families, that is what is important here. God bless. Fair winds and following seas shipmates.
Jennifer Vigil December 13, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Thanks, Trevor and Curt for your perspective (and your service for sure).
Andy Arciga December 13, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Reality,Apparently Navy officials were incorrect. The 1600 ft minimum ceiling when flying over inhabited areas was the info they told me. They also said that Navy helos don't fly over the city. Mebbe that should have been a clue.
Reality December 13, 2012 at 08:32 PM
I believe Nell hit it on the head. More to the important point, best wishes to the crew and their families. Wish them a speedy recovery.
Andy Arciga December 13, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Yes she did.
Eddie C December 14, 2012 at 01:10 AM
If you don't like it move. No one told you to live in the flight area of an airfield. So, what your telling me is because this was a naval aircraft flying over Imperial Beach it could crash and injury people? I must ask, is our opinion the same for the low flying aircraft coming into Limburg field about 200 feet from the homes landing ever five minutes or is it just because your anti-military? Thanks!!!!
Eddie C December 14, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Andy, If you don't like it move. No one told you to live in the flight area of an airfield. So, what your telling me is because this was a naval aircraft flying over Imperial Beach it could crash and injury people? I must ask, is our opinion the same for the low flying aircraft coming into Limburg field about 200 feet from the homes landing ever five minutes or is it just because your anti-military? Thanks!!!!
Andy Arciga December 14, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Eddie c,Planes landing at lindberg field have no choice. In this case,the govt. provided installed double pane windows to the residents in the flight path area. All I'm saying is the Navy has a choice and could reduce noise levels if they chose to. They choose not to. BTW,I don't know how you came to the conclusion I'm anti-military. I'm just anti-noise. I'm also anti-my house and windows shaking for hours on end. How close do you live to NOLF IB?
SMOOTHE December 14, 2012 at 03:13 AM
I live here as well. And actually love the sound of freedom. Helps me sleep at night. You should be more concerned with all the illegal aliens that would be running through are neighborhood if the field was closed.
Andy Arciga December 14, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Illegals don't have the potential of crashing into my house. The Tijuana river and the BP do a good job of keeping them at bay. BTW,Good for you than you can sleep w/all the noise and vibrations the helos create.
Flint Mason December 14, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Andy, we take extra measures every time we fly at IB to follow noise abatement procedures that go well above and beyond the FAA regulations. From eperience, there is nothing I can do beyond what we already do down at IB to reduce noise while also accomplishing training. In the future, consider century-old military aircraft training fields prior to purchasing real estate.
SMOOTHE December 14, 2012 at 03:38 AM
So you think. Hundreds make it through the estuary every year. As far as flying close to the north fence, we're safe. There far enough away.
Roberto Patterson December 14, 2012 at 04:34 AM
It must be that you are an expert in letters of agreement between the FAA and the military that you know so much. Helicopters fly over IB for training purposes so they can prepare to defend your freedom of ignorant comments. Support our troops, don't complain about them. They are doing it for you....a person they will never know, never judge, and never say ignorant things about. Maybe you could not say ignorant things about something you probably are not an expert on.
Brendon O'Conner December 14, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Andy-- I'm really not sure why an accident at NAS Coronado has any relevance to the noise you experience at your house. You are typical of home-owners across our great nation who choose to buy a house next to a military training airport and then commence to complain about the noise and attempt to use safety as a leverage. I flew at NAB for most of my 25 year Navy career--every attempt was made to minimize noise for Imperial Beach residents. Funneling traffic into the very narrow channel you're recommending would only increase the likelihood of an accident--it's a testament to the quality our pilots and the adherence to safety constraints that there has not been a serious accident in the NALF for many years. If you had any idea of the number of flight hours and corresponding miniscule mishap rate at IB you would forever cease to waive the safety flag. It sounds like you grasp whatever erroneous information you hear to further whatever real agenda you have.
Andy Arciga December 14, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Brendon,First of all thank you for your service. Apparently I'm being misunderstood. The noise of course is bad and the Navy could mitagate a lot of it by more use of the south side of NOLF. Instead the Navy is going to increase the number of helos by 30%. I estimate the Navy conducts 75-85% of flight operations along the north runway. By virtue of the amount of helos in that area,the law of averages dictates that were an incident to occur,it's going to be near an inhabited area. In my time in Imperial Beach,off the top of my head I can recall four incidents. Two of which were fatal. One crash was just off Seacoast drive into the estuary. The last one was another hard landing at NOLF and that happened about 1991. Then there's the F-18 crash into a house in MiraMesa. All I'm saying these incidents do happen and thank God they are as few as they are. Also,I'm not saying to funnel all traffic to the south side,just increase it's utilization. Anywho,I'm done here. A Merry Christmas to all. Even to the person that called me a prick.
Brendon O'Conner December 14, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Andy-- 1991? Are you sure, that was over twenty years ago. I'm pretty sure that there have been a couple of accidents since then. First, there is only one runway at Ream Field, and the traffic pattern for both the runway and the pads IS south of the airport. In fact, the Navy opted to reduce safety margins to lessen the noise impact on IB residents by flying both the runway pattern and the traffic patterns for the 5 pads on the south side of the airfield using Altitude to seperate the two patterns. You do know that Mexico is just south of the facility, right? If I still lived in San Diego, I would drop by your house and take you out to the airport and show you that most of the stuff that you throw out in your postings is factually incorrect. I guarantee you--based on 6+ years of flight instructing at the NALF--that most of the operations at IB are to the 5 pads and not to the runway. I can also validate that the Navy has shifted much of it's training to night and NVG events, but in consideration to you and your neighbors, has opted not to fly most of those events at IB. I can break open my log book to show you the number of flights I flew across the mountains to El Centro to fly multiple events in the desert to preserve your sleep because the Navy CHOSE to close IB at 2300. It (the USN) would be well within it's rights to keep the facility open all night (and on weekends). Count your blessings......
AvEverything December 15, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Dude I work at North Island the ops these pilots and AWs do are critical to your safety and well being. Stop being a bitch and shut up you are clueless as to what you are talking about
AvEverything December 15, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Dude you are clueless. Stop embarrassing yourself.
S.L. York December 19, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I have flown over NOLF Imperial Beach. It is highly impractical for them to move all of the operations to the southern portion of the field. There just isn't enough room. Compound that with the reality that the base is about as close as you can get to Mexico. As an American pilot if I were to fly into Mexico, I could see some truly righteous fines. As a military pilot, that would be akin to an act of aggression.
Andy Arciga December 19, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Brendon O'Conner,Your info is a little dated. There are two runways,a north runway and a south runway. The Navy also built several hover pads on the northwest corner of NOLF. When they do tandem touch and go's along w/hover exercises,the noise level can be overwhelming. S.L.York,I'm not advocating moving all the operations to the south side,just move some of the activity there. BTW,You are not that close to Mexico on the south side. You're probably a couple of miles away. The border being well defined,I find it hard to believe a trained Naval pilot would stray into Mexico.
Linda Faye December 27, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Got Freedom? I rest my case. Sincerely, The mother of one of the crew members.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something