Authorities searching for missing helicopter off Cabrillo Beach

SAN PEDRO, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Authorities responded to reports of a helicopter down in the ocean off San Pedro.

So far no wreckage or victims have been spotted. But Eyewitness News has learned that an R-22 Beta helicopter left the Torrance Airport around 4:30 p.m. The helicopter belongs to JJ Helicopters, a Torrance-based company, and the aircraft is missing.

The Port Police said a pilot and one passenger were on board the missing helicopter.

Officials say passengers on a cruise ship reported seeing a helicopter go down in the port area.

The U.S. Coast Guard, who came to assist in the search, closed the Los Angeles Harbor entrance as efforts to find something continued.

Commander Romulus Matthews with the Coast Guard said searchers are scouring an area of roughly 3-5 nautical square miles near Cabrillo Beach.

Search crews have night-vision goggles and infrared sensors to aid them as they look for wreckage, floating personal belongings or oil on the surface, he said.

Officials will continue to search at least as long as their models say there is a chance of survival of anyone who may be in the water. Based on current water conditions, that would mean about 19-20 hours after the crash, Matthews said.
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