North Island helicopter pilots grounded after Lake Tahoe scare - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

FRIDAY, September 24, 2010

North Island helicopter pilots grounded after Lake Tahoe incident

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) -  Two Navy helicopter pilots from North Island Naval Air Station were grounded Friday over a YouTube video that allegedly showed them dipping the $33 million aircrafts into Lake Tahoe.

In the video taken Sept. 13, both helicopters hit the water and one seems to spin out of control and crash into the water before its pilot apparently pulls the craft back into the air.

A Navy spokesman confirmed that the video was genuine footage of two MH-60 Romeo helicopters from North Island's Helicopter Maritime Strike 41 squadron, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

North Island Naval Air Forces command spokesman Lt. Aaron Kakiel told the newspaper the pilots were grounded pending an aviation mishap board investigation.

Lake Tahoe is not a normal training area for Navy pilots. The helicopters were being flown home to North Island from an air show near Sacramento, the Union-Tribune reported.

Damage to the helicopters was estimated at between $50,000 and $500,000, according to the newspaper, which reported that the grounded pilots had to land at Lake Tahoe Airport following the incident and a different set of pilots eventually flew the helicopters home.

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