NBC News and msnbc.com
updated 9/17/2010 2:12:37 PM ET 2010-09-17T18:12:37

A helicopter carrying a crew filming a "driverless car" commercial crashed Friday about a mile from the summit of Pikes Peak, injuring at least four people, NBC affiliates in Colorado reported.

KOAA of Pueblo reported that the pilot was airlifted off the mountain and was in fair condition at a hospital. The three others on board had minor injuries and were reported in good condition. KUSA of Denver said the pilot was former SKY9 pilot Jim Dirker.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office said the crash occurred between 7 and 7:30 a.m. along the highway near the top of Pikes Peak, KUSA reported. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which takes trains halfway to the summit, was closed but service was expected to resume later in the day.

Chelsy Murphy, a spokesperson for the Convention and Visitor's Bureau of Colorado Springs, says the helicopter was part of a film crew shooting a commercial for Audi at the time of the crash.

John Leavitt, communications specialist for the city of Colorado Springs, told KOAA that the crew was filming a "driverless car" going up Pikes Peak.

Pikes Peak is Colorado's 31st-highest mountain at 14,110 feet above sea level. Its majestic views from the summit inspired Katherine Lee Bates in 1893 to write the lyrics to "America the Beautiful."

The helicopter crash prevented a cog rail from taking riders to the summit of the mountain Friday, according to a telephone recording for the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which it's the world's highest cog train.

"Our trains are not able of to go to the top today, due to an aircraft accident near the top of the mountain today," the recording says, adding that the cogs are only cleared to reach 13,000 feet.

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