Helicopter Crashes In San Diego Bay

Pilot Identified As Howard Leight, 69

An investigation is under way Monday into what caused a helicopter to crash in San Diego Bay.

Harbor Police said the private helicopter piloted by 69-year-old Howard Leight had just taken off from a yacht around 6:20 p.m. when it immediately began experiencing problems. Witnesses said the helicopter sputtered and flew low to the water. It then briefly went back up near the Coronado Bridge, then suddenly dropped.

10News' Preston Phillips reported that Leight is a licensed pilot who owned the Robinson R-44 helicopter and the 140-foot yacht he took off from named "Leightstar."

Harbor Police said Leight was the only person in the helicopter at the time of crash. Harbor Police said he was transported to the UCSD Medical Center and suffered only cuts and bruises.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

10News learned Leight donated the use of his yacht for different charities, including the San Diego Historical Society, to use for fundraising purposes.

Leight was once the owner of San Diego-based Sperian Hearing Protection, 10News reported.

He owns a property in Malibu called Rocky Oaks which is valued at $65 million. The property spans 37 acres from estate to the vineyard, which has 9,500 vines.

Sources told 10News Leight is likely already home from the hospital. 10News tried to contact Leight but got no response at the yacht nor his son's home in La Jolla.