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Camp Pendleton fatal helicopter crash in 2011 caused by bird strike - report

A map indicates the location of Camp Pendleton in San Diego County.

May 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The deadly helicopter crash at Camp Pendleton last year was caused when the aircraft struck a hawk, investigators said in a new report.

Authorities said the incident did enough damage that the rotor and the top of the transmission came off the helicopter. The aircraft went down in a training area in the southeast corner of Camp Pendleton near Fallbrook.

The September crash killed two Marines and started a brush fire that burned more than 100 acres. Both pilots onboard were killed.

The report, obtained by the U-T San Diego newspaper, recommends changing the design of the AH-1W Cobra Attack helicopters to better protect them against bird strikes.