CORONA, Calif. (KTLA) — Federal investigators are working to determine what caused a deadly helicopter explosion in Corona late Sunday.
It happened around 11 p.m. near the fuel pumps at Corona Municipal Airport, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.
Investigators believe the Robinson R-44 helicopter was in motion, though they’re not sure if it was moving vertically or horizontally.
It may have been simply taxiing by when it clipped the canopy of the refueling area.
Two witnesses heard the blast and called 911. Paramedics and firefighters arrived quickly, but the chopper was fully engulfed in flames.
The pilot of the helicopter was killed in the explosion.
The victim’s body was burned beyond recognition, so authoriteis will need to use dental records to make an identification.
The explosion sent one piece of one rotor blade flying, and it lodged in the steel structure of one of the airport hangars.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating.