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Police Clear Pilots of Wrongdoing in Crash That Injured Kirk Douglas

July 9, 1991 GMT

SANTA PAULA, Calif. (AP) _ Police cleared two pilots of criminal wrongdoing in an aircraft collision that killed two people and injured three, including actor Kirk Douglas.

However, a final report by the National Transportation Safety Board on the Feb. 13 crash at Santa Paula Airport still is pending.

″From our standpoint, we found nothing that we can go forward with,″ Police Chief Walt Adair said Monday. ″We’re not assigning blame to anybody at this time. We don’t do that. That’s the NTSB’s job.″

Stunt pilot Lee Manelski, 46, and student David Tomlinson, 18, died when their single-engine Pitts aircraft collided with a Bell helicopter piloted by cartoon voice artist Noel Blanc. Douglas was a passenger in the helicopter.

NTSB investigator Don Llorente said the agency’s investigation has been delayed in part because Blanc and another copter passenger, Mike Carra, have not given statements. Douglas gave a statement shortly after the accident, he said.

Blanc’s attorney, Patrick Bailey, did not return telephone calls. Carra said Monday he has no problem talking to investigators but has not been approached.