A helicopter clipped power lines shortly after takeoff Sunday and crashed into a remote canyon, killing two people aboard and leaving much of Santa Barbara without power, authorities said.
The crash north of Santa Barbara was reported shortly after 10:30 a.m. in remote San Jose Creek Canyon in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, said Santa Barbara County Deputy Don Friedly.Both people aboard, Francis William Murphy, 37, Goleta, and William Donald Warren, 27, Santa Barbara, died when the helicopter clipped a power line and crashed. There was light fog in the area, but it was not immediately known if it contributed to the crash of the small Robinson R-22 Alpha helicopter.
Federal Aviation Administration duty officer Dick Hallen said the helicopter had gone about 4 miles before striking some high-tension power lines a few minutes after taking off from Santa Barbara Airport.
More than 77,000 customers in the Santa Barbara area were left without power due to the accident, Southern California Edison spokesman John Britton said.
"A large 66,000-volt line was burned down and we had a large area, including much of Santa Barbara knocked out," Britton said, adding that power for most customers was restored in five minutes.
The helicopter was owned by Enchanted Kingdom Helicopters and based at Santa Barbara Aviation. Murphy and Warren had taken the helicopter up for a 30-minute ride.