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Update: Pilot dead in explosion as helicopter refueled at Southern California airport

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Update 9:14 a.m.:

The National Transportation Safety Board says that a preliminary investigation of the wreckage shows that one of the helicopter's blades hit a structure that covers the fuel pumps, NBC LA reports.

The Federal Aviation Administration released the following statement:

"An unidentified Robinson helicopter caught fire near the fuel pumps at Corona Municipal Airport around 11 p.m. Local authorities reported the pilot, who apparently was the only person on board, was killed. The FAA and NTSB will investigate."

Officials have confirmed that the pilot of the helicopter was the only casualty.


Investigators are trying to determine what caused a deadly explosion while a helicopter refueled at a Southern California airport.

The Sunday night explosion at Corona Municipal Airport hurled shrapnel that punctured the side of a hangar.

KTLA reports the helicopter landed at the Riverside County airport and was refueling when the aircraft exploded.

There are no other details.

A coroner's office dispatcher says at 4:30 a.m. that its investigators are still at the airport and there is no information on the person killed.

A Corona police dispatcher confirms there was an explosion at 11:08 p.m. Sunday and one person was killed, but there are no other details.

Callers were referred to a National Transportation Safety Board phone number that no one answered Sunday night.

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