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Chopper Carrying Donated Organ Crashes While Landing At USC Medical Building

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- A medical transport helicopter carrying a donated organ made a hard landing at University of Southern California medical building in Los Angeles.

The chopper was making a landing atop Keck Hospital around 3:20 p.m. when the crash occurred in the 1500 block of North San Pablo Street in Boyle Heights, according to LAFD spokesperson Margaret Stewart.

helicopter hospital crash
(credit: CBS)

The private air ambulance did not appear to be leaking any fuel and there was no fire, she said.

"I was inside the building working and then once we heard everyone run out and went out and saw it. It was like people were saying, 'Oh the helicopter the blade of the helicopter was coming down or something.' I didn't see anything personally but I know they were talking about debris flying from the air," said pharmacist intern Bahador Aghakoochek.

The three people on board, including the pilot, suffered minor injuries.

"The pilot himself self extricated from the wreckage and he was transported to an area hospital with minor injuries. The other two passengers that were in the aircraft also self extricated and they're being treated here at the Keck Medical Center," said LAFD Battalion Chief Gene Bednarchik.

The donated heart was handed over to USC-County Hospital staff for further transport, Stewart added.

No one on the ground was hurt and the crash did not disrupt patient care at the hospital, according to officials.

National Transportation Safety Board officials are expected to be on the scene Saturday to assess the crash and begin investigating what caused the aircraft to go down.

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