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Emergency landing made at grade school

Posted: October 1, 2008 6:42 p.m.
Updated: December 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.

A sheriff's helicopter made an emergency landing at the Dr. J. Michael McGrath Elementary School field in Newhall on Wednesday afternoon. The helicopter suffered mechanical problems.


McGrath Elementary School students plastered their little faces against the windows watching a sheriff's helicopter make an emergency landing behind the school Wednesday, a school employee said.

The helicopter ran into mechanical problems forcing it to land at the school, Principal Larry Heath said.

The sheriff's helicopter flew low over the area surrounding the school after the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station received reports of a downed aircraft, Lt. Tom Bryski said. Deputies didn't find a downed aircraft. They did run into curious kids and wide-eyed school employees.

"We were sitting in the teacher's lounge when Michael (a co-worker) pointed out the window," said Jessica Boykin, yard supervisor. Boykin hurried outside to snap a picture of the downed helicopter.

The emergency landing didn't rattle the crew and they fixed the helicopter and took off before most of the students noticed, said Heath who spoke with the crew.

"I thought the kids would get a kick out of it," said Michael Arriaga, yard supervisor. Only a few sixth-grade classes whose rooms face the field saw the helicopter. The kids pressed against the back windows were mesmerized, he said.

The chopper crew took 10 minutes to fix the helicopter before they lifted off again, Heath said. The chopper disappeared into the horizon as morning kindergarten students waited for their parents to pick them up, he said.

"Just another day at elementary school," Heath said with a snicker.


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