Santa Barbara- S County

Goleta man recounts seeing helicopter minutes before it crashed

Cabrera: "Sounded like it was going to stall"

Goleta man recounts seeing helicopter...

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A Goleta man says he saw a helicopter from Santa Barbara Helicopter Tours minutes before it crashed near Hope Ranch. 

Gil Cabrera is a shuttle driver for Santa Barbara Auto Group. He says he believes the strange noise coming from the helicopter was what raised his curiosity. 

"It sounded like the engine was going to stall up in the sky. So boom, boom, boom and next thing you know it stalled and went back up again," said Gil Cabrera. 

He also recalls seeing a black object fall from the aircraft. 

"There was smoke coming out of the engine and it kind of stalled and it up again. Now, the interesting thing was a black object was hanging and next thing you know.. 2 minutes later it just fell," said Cabrera. 

He was thankful to hear everyone on board survived. 

There was two passengers and a pilot in that helicopter. They were on their way back to Santa Barbara Airport after a flight over the Harbor. It's been reported that they were experiencing engine trouble. 

Reporter Vicky Nguyen spoke tried to get a comment from Matt Long, the general manager of the tour company. He chose not to comment, but did say his media team will reach out to us. So far, we have not heard back. 


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