A person who tried to steal a helicopter Wednesday morning at Sacramento Executive Airport crashed into the tarmac shortly after starting the aircraft, according to authorities.
It’s unclear how far the suspect was able to get the helicopter off the tarmac before crashing, but images taken by KCRA-TV in Sacramento showed a black helicopter lying on its side. Pieces of the helicopter were scattered across the ground, including the rotor blades, and ground crews used a crane to stand the aircraft onto its landing gear, authorities told the news station.
The Sacramento Police Department told KCRA that the suspect damaged four other helicopters before starting the aircraft that crashed.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the helicopter is a Bell 429 and it crashed around 5 a.m. There’s no information of how many people were inside the helicopter when it crashed or whether anyone was injured, the FAA said.
The suspect remains at large, according to authorities.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken the lead on the incident and could not be reached for comment about the crash. FBI Special Agent Sean Reagan told KCRA that there’s a person of interest, but he wouldn’t reveal any information about an arrest or motive.
“If someone wanted to take an aircraft for a joyride, someone who wanted to take an aircraft to do some other criminal activity or damage to other property, terrorism would be at the other end of the scope,” Reagan said.