1 dead, 3 injured in copter crash near Tucson - East Valley Tribune: Tucson

1 dead, 3 injured in copter crash near Tucson

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Posted: Monday, January 31, 2011 1:14 pm | Updated: 9:58 am, Wed Feb 2, 2011.

TUCSON — Authorities say a civilian pilot is dead after the crash of a Pima County Sheriff's Department helicopter on the side of a rugged mountain in Tucson.

All three passengers are hospitalized with one in critical condition and two in serious condition. Sheriff's officials won't yet say whether the three survivors are department employees.

They say pilot Loren Leonberger had been with the sheriff's department since November 2008. He previously was a pilot for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Army National Guard and Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Authorities say the Hughes 500 helicopter went down on Waterman Mountain about 11 a.m. Monday as the four-person crew was scouting an area in the Ironwood National Forest for possible locations for radio communications towers.

The cause of the crash isn't immediately known.

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