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Officers Survive Copter Crash


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Officers survive copter crash


By Nancy Flores

San Antonio Express-News


Web Posted : 02/20/2004 12:00 AM


The slightest hesitation could have cost them their lives.

But a maneuver that some call miraculous saved two San Antonio police helicopter pilots early Thursday.


As streetlights speckled the ground below, officers Edward A. Ramirez and Michael Welborn lifted off to follow a West Side police chase.


Just a minute after the helicopter's 2:38 a.m. take off from Stinson Airfield, with dispatcher chatter inside the cockpit of Eagle 3 steadily growing, the veteran pilots felt a shudder and heard several bangs before the engine cut out.


A witness reported a flame shooting out the back of the helicopter. Welborn, his voice strained on a videotape from the craft, alerted the dispatcher that the helicopter was going down.


"Come on, auto! Come on, auto!" Welborn yelled to Ramirez, who was piloting the aircraft. Welborn was referring to the use of the "auto-rotation" emergency move that kept the rotors twirling above.


"Eagle, mayday Eagle!" Welborn screamed on the tape. "We're going down!"



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Officers survive copter crash - San Antonio News


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