Firefighting Helicopter Collision Kills 3 In California

Firefighting Helicopter Collision Kills 3 In California

Photo: KTTV

Two firefighting helicopters responding to a wildfire on Sunday in Southern California collided with each other in mid-air. One chopper was able to land safely. The other aircraft crashed into the ground, killing all three people onboard. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now investigating the events that led to the collision and fatal crash.

Multiple dead in helicopter crash in Cabazon

According to CNN, six fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft responded to a small three-acre wildfire in Cabazon, a small community 80 miles east of Los Angeles. The NTSB stated that a Bell 407 and a Sikorsky S-64E helicopter collided during the response.

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Cal Fire Southern Region Chief David Fulcher said in a press conference, “Unfortunately, the second helicopter crashed and tragically all three members perished, which included one Cal Fire Division chief, one Cal Fire captain and one contract client pilot.” The victims were the first of the 2023 California wildfire season.

The crash ignited its own four-acre fire. Both the initial blaze and the helicopter fire were both extinguished. Fulcher added, “Although this was a tragic event, we are also thankful today that it wasn’t worse. The individuals in the first helicopter were able to able to land safely without incident and no one else was hurt.” It is not yet clear how the two helicopters collided.

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