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Helicopter crashes in El Segundo, setting building ablaze [Updated]

March 13, 2011 | 12:17 pm

A helicopter crashed Sunday morning at a Raytheon plant in El Segundo, injuring the pilot and setting a building ablaze, according to the El Segundo Fire Department.

The accident occurred as a helicopter was lifting a large air-conditioning unit off the roof of a building at the defense contractor’s plant at 2000 E. El Segundo Blvd. at about 9:30 a.m., said Battalion Chief Richard Guyer. The pilot lost control, and the helicopter plunged into a patio and tunnel area, setting the first and second floors of the E-1 building on fire.

[Updated at 3:40 p.m.: This post was changed to correct the spelling of Guyer's name.]

About 70 firefighters put out the blaze in 35 to 40 minutes, Guyer said.

The pilot survived and was taken to a trauma center, Guyer said. His condition is unknown.

[Updated at 12:29 p.m.: The pilot was seriously hurt and the helicopter was engulfed in flames and destroyed, according to FAA spokesman Mike Fergus.]

[Updated at 3:40 p.m.: The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are on scene investigating the cause of the crash.]

-- Seema Mehta and Andrew Blankstein