OAN’s Abril Elfi
10:52 AM – Monday, August 7, 2023
Two helicopters recently collided mid-air while tending to a California fire, which resulted in the deaths of two firefighters and one pilot.
On Sunday evening, a crew was dispatched to a fire in Riverside County, Cabazon. While fighting the blaze that had been spreading over 20-acres, two out of the six helicopters responding to the scene abruptly crashed into each other.
Riverside County Sheriff’s Department released a statement on Monday morning regarding the tragedy.
According to the department, after the impact, one of the helicopters crashed into a hillside killing all three individuals inside. However, the other helicopter involved in the collision was able to land safely and no one inside that aircraft was injured.
The crash is said to have caused the blaze to spread over 4 acres more before it was put out by the other crew members on site.
Cal Fire Southern Region Chief, David Fulcher, appeared in a news conference on Monday where he spoke on the incident.
“This sacrifice should not be in vain, that we think about them, we will be there to support them,” Fulcher said. “We will be there today, and I can express that [Riverside County Fire] Chief Bill Weiser has met with two of the family members and we are working on meeting with the third. We just want to let them know that we are there for them.”
The names of the three victims have reportedly not been released yet, however, they were described as a Cal Fire division chief, a Cal Fire captain, and a contract pilot.
The crash is currently being investigated by The National Transportation Safety Board.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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