Arizona helicopter crash airs on 'Top Gear' TV show


by Jared Dillingham

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Posted on February 12, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 13 at 7:52 AM

PHOENIX -- A South Korean TV show shoot in the Arizona desert ended with a dramatic helicopter crash.

"Top Gear: South Korea" just aired an episode shot near Florence, Ariz., in March of 2012.

The popular show, originally broadcast by the BBC, puts high-performance cars through tests.

For this particular episode, producers put a Corvette in a race against an Army Cobra helicopter, on a runway in Arizona.

The pilots and driver made several practice runs, and then began their race. 

At the finish line, the helicopter crashed, sending up a huge plume of dust.

Shrapnel went flying, but no one on the ground or in the helicopter was injured.

"I was covered in dirt and could feel the heat of the engines," photographer Steve Esparza told 3TV.

"[The helicopter] just didn't sound right. When it came over my shoulder, I said, 'Something's not right with it."

Esparza and others on the ground were stunned to see the pilot and cameraman walk away from the wreckage, unharmed. 

"He went back into the wreckage, pulled his glasses out and shook them off. You could tell he was shaken up. But they seemed to dust themselves off and shake it off."

The pilot later said the helicopter controls "locked up."  The FAA says the crash is still under investigation.


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