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Chopper makes emergency landing at CA playground

February 6, 2012 GMT
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A private helicopter makes an emergency landing on El Vista Elementary School's playground after fueling at the Modesto Airport, in Modesto, Calif., Sunday morning, Feb. 5, 2012. Pilot Scott Bursey, left, from Madera County said at about 800 feet he had mechanical problems and had no place else to safely land. Neighborhood residents said the helicopter made a hard landing nearly hitting treetops and a soccer goal. (AP Photo/The Modesto Bee, Bart Ah You)
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A private helicopter makes an emergency landing on El Vista Elementary School's playground after fueling at the Modesto Airport, in Modesto, Calif., Sunday morning, Feb. 5, 2012. Pilot Scott Bursey, left, from Madera County said at about 800 feet he had mechanical problems and had no place else to safely land. Neighborhood residents said the helicopter made a hard landing nearly hitting treetops and a soccer goal. (AP Photo/The Modesto Bee, Bart Ah You)

MODESTO, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a helicopter encountered mechanical problems before making an emergency landing at an elementary school playground in a Modesto, Calif., neighborhood.

Neighborhood resident Susanna Ballard tells The Modesto Bee (http://bit.ly/yDQbpa ) the helicopter was shaking badly as it flew over Sunday morning, and that she thought it was going to crash.

The aircraft had fueled at the Modesto Airport and managed to land safely in a grassy area at El Vista Elementary School after nearly hitting trees and a soccer goal. No one was injured.

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Battalion Chief Hugo Patino says the two-seat helicopter made a hard landing following apparent mechanical failure.

The pilot, who didn’t give his full name, told the Bee the helicopter started having problems at 800 feet and he had no other safe place to land.

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Information from: The Modesto Bee, http://www.modbee.com

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