Two Las Vegas Metro police officers were injured Wednesday afternoon when a police helicopter crashed in a residential area northeast of the city's downtown area. The officers were taken to University Medical Center and their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening, officials with Metro Police and the Federal Aviation Department (FAA) told the Associated Press.
No one was hurt on the ground, police said, and the FAA told the AP that the Hughes 530 was one of five choppers operated by 22 police department pilots.
The aircraft crashed into the street near the intersection of 21st Street and Bonanza Road, which was closed from Bruce Street to Eastern Avenue, KLAS-TV Las Vegas reported shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The helicopter was purchased in July 2010 by the Metro Police Department, which launched its Air Support Unit in 1969, KLAS, which is providing real-time updates on the incident on its website, reported.
Photographs posted on social media depicted the destroyed helicopter, which appeared to have collided with a red vehicle on the ground that was also demolished in the impact.
The Air Support Unit patrols 7,910 square miles of Clark County, including extensive residential areas and downtown Las Vegas, according to its official website. In 2008 the unit responded to more than 14,000 calls, playing a direct role in the arrest of 782 suspects, recovering 392 stolen vehicles and 147 search and rescue missions, the site says.
The deadliest aircraft accident in the history of the Las Vegas area took place on April 21, 1958, when United Airlines Flight 736 en route from Los Angeles to Denver crashed into a U.S. Air Force fighter jet above Arden, Nevada, in the Las Vegas Valley. All 49 passengers and crew on board the two airplanes died in the crash.