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Door of firefighting helicopter in California door falls off over affluent neighborhood

Door from Sacramento Metro Fire helicopter detaches mid-flight, lands in backyard
Door from Sacramento Metro Fire helicopter detaches mid-flight, lands in backyard 00:26

GRANITE BAY — The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District said one of its helicopters lost its door over a Granite Bay neighborhood as it was returning from a rescue drill Tuesday afternoon at Folsom Lake.

The sliding door started to detach mid-flight and fell into the backyard of a home. No one was injured.

It happened at around 4:30 p.m. as the helicopter was returning from a scheduled hoist rescue drill at the lake.

Metro Fire said in a news release Wednesday that "both doors of the aircraft were secured open and all systems registered normal."

When the onboard flight officer noticed the sliding door had begun detaching, the pilot was advised to slow down to prepare to land. Before the aircraft could land, the door had fallen off. The pilot then landed the aircraft in nearby Douglas Ranch Park.

Metro Fire said all necessary maintenance and preflight checklists were completed before the helicopter took off. However, a safety review with a third-party company is now underway to determine exactly what happened.

A spokesperson for Metro Fire released the following statement:

"We are grateful that no injuries resulted from this occurrence. A comprehensive safety review is currently underway. The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District reaffirms its unwavering commitment to delivering the highest level of emergency response and service to our communities."

Victoria Pomeroy was watching her nephew's soccer practice at Douglas Ranch Park. She was there on Tuesday, too, just hours after the door came crashing down.

"My first reaction was that someone was injured on the field, and then we found out that nobody was hurt and that aircraft lost a door in flight," she said.

The news spread quickly through the neighborhood.

"[It was] probably a little shocking for whoever's backyard that was," said Granite Bay resident Brianna Carlson.

Pomeroy was among dozens of parents in the park Wednesday seeking answers about what happened.

"We're all anxious to see what happened and why it happened," she said.

Back in 2013, CBS13 covered an incident involving a Metro Fire helicopter that almost crashed into the San Francisco Bay during a training session.

Two firefighters were hoisted on the aircraft's rescue cable when it got snagged on the boat below, pulling the chopper into a steep descent.

Despite struggles against gravity, a crew member was able to hit an emergency switch that cut the cable, dropping the two firefighters into the bay. Those firefighters were not seriously injured.

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