PCSO: Helicopter crashes in desert after pilot experiences 'total engine failure'

FLORENCE, Ariz. - A helicopter was forced to make an emergency crash landing in the desert near Pinal County after experiencing total engine failure Tuesday morning.

Pinal County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Tamra Ingersoll said the three people on board--a pilot, a tactical flight officer and a mechanic--suffered no injuries after the aircraft experienced total failure while on a routine maintenance flight just north of Interstate 8.

All three passengers were taken to a nearby hospital for a precautionary medical evaluation.

The 1990 MD helicopter 500E sustained minor damage according to Ingersoll. Air15 video showed several pieces of the helicopter scattered in the desert.

Ingersol said the crew was "very lucky" and thanked the "well-trained" pilot that there were no injuries and this crash wasn't worse.

The FAA and NTSB have been notified of the crash and are on their way to the scene to conduct an investigation.

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