Tampa, Florida: One person has died after a helicopter suffered “catastrophic” engine failure and crashed into a road in Florida on Thursday. The crash occurred on 50th Street and Palm River Road at about 2:20 p.m.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said a piece of the helicopter’s rotator blades broke off and flew across the street, striking a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that was headed north on 50th Street near Palm River Road, killing a passenger.
The passenger’s name has not been released, pending notification of kin, but authorities say he was the father of the driver.
The crash forced the closure of several streets in the area.
The helicopter involved in a crash-landing that resulted in the death of a motorist Thursday had possible mechanical problems days before, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Officials with the FAA confirmed it is investigating a reported possible mechanical problem with the Robinson R44 helicopter that took place March 31. At the time, the pilot was the only person onboard the aircraft. It landed safely in Lutz just before 11 a.m.
Thursday just before 3 p.m., however, the aircraft had to be crash-landed on 50th Street in the Palm River area after it suffered a “catastrophic engine failure,” according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
During the landing, a portion of the aircraft’s rotor broke off and flew into the window of a passing pickup truck, killing the passenger and injuring the driver. The passenger was the father of the driver. Their ages and identities were not released.
The helicopter’s pilot and his passenger were not seriously injured, but the sheriff’s office said the pilot of the aircraft was taken to the hospital to be checked out.
Traffic along both 50th Street and Palm River Road was blocked and may be for several hours, troopers added.
The NTSB arrived at the scene of Thursday’s crash in Tampa and was investigating the circumstances.