The pilot and a passenger killed in a fiery helicopter crash that shut down the runway at McClellan-Palomar Airport Wednesday afternoon were identified on Thursday.
Bruce Allen Erickson, 65, of Rancho Santa Fe and his 60-year-old passenger, Wayne Frank Lewis of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, died as a result of a crash and fire that occurred as they were practicing landings at the general-aviation facility on Palomar Airport Road in Carlsbad shortly before 4:30 p.m., according to the county Medical Examiner’s Office.
The Airbus AS350 helicopter’s tail hit the ground as it approached the landing pad. The body of the chopper then hit the ground, spun out and went up in flames, authorities said. Emergency crews were still extinguishing the resulting fire a half-hour later, according to North County Dispatch.
The crash prompted a closure of the single-runway airport. Palomar has since reopened to helicopter operations, but the runway remained closed this morning, according to the county Department of Public Works.
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