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Navy investigating hovering incident by two helicopters at Lake Tahoe

September 27, 2010 |  8:27 am

The Navy is investigating an incident in which two helicopters from North Island Naval Air Station hovered over Lake Tahoe and dipped momentarily into the water before regaining power, officials said Monday.

The pilots have been grounded while an aviation mishap board completes its investigation. Different pilots flew the helicopters back to North Island.

The incident occurred Sept. 13 when two Seahawk helicopters flying from Mather Air Force Base to Lemoore Naval Air Station for refueling hovered over the Emerald Bay portion of the lake. The two lacked sufficient power to hover and landed slowly in the water, officials said.

The helicopters then regained power and flew to the Lake Tahoe airport, officials said.

Each craft sustained damage estimated at between $50,000 and $500,000. Each has been repaired and put back in service. The aircraft were in Northern California for a training mission.

The incident came to public attention when tourists posted a video on YouTube.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego