Investigation Underway Into California Helicopter Crash That Claimed 3 Lives
Investigation underway into California helicopter crash that claimed 3 lives as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators comb the location where the tragic incident unfolded on Sunday. Two helicopters engaged in firefighting duties collided midair while battling the Broadway Fire in Southern California.
Cecilia JonesAug 08, 202376 Shares75789 Views
Investigation underway into California helicopter crash that claimed 3 livesas the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators comb the location where the tragic incident unfolded on Sunday. Two helicopters engaged in firefighting duties collided midair while battling the Broadway Fire in Southern California.
The collision occurred during the response of six aircraft to the blaze, which originated from a structure fire that spread to the surrounding vegetation in Cabazon. CalFire Southern Region Chief, David Fulcher, conveyed that this unfortunate event transpired some 90 miles east of Los Angeles. The involved helicopters were identified as a Bell 407 and a Sikorsky S-64E.
"The first helicopter was able to land safely nearby,” Fulcher said during a news conference. "Unfortunately, the second helicopter crashed, and tragically all three members perished."
Cal Fire has officially named the three individuals who lost their lives in the incident. Division Chief Josh Bischof, Captain Tim Rodriguez, and pilot Tony Sousa have been identified as the victims. Tragically, these men mark the initial casualties of California's fire season for the year 2023, as reported by Cal Fire's data.
"When these firefighters go to work every day they don’t expect not to return home, and yesterday was a difficult day," Cal Fire Deputy Director of Communications Nick Schuler said.
"This is an extremely rare event, so it’s extremely important that the investigation is methodical, but currently at this point, it remains under investigation," Schuler said of the crash’s cause.
Cal Fire: 3 dead in Calif. firefighting helicopter crash
At approximately 6 p.m., firefighters were dispatched to the scene of the Broadway Fire, which had engulfed an estimated three acres. A collaborative Twitter account representing CalFire and the Riverside County Fire Department shared this information. Swift action resulted in the containment of the fire's advancement by just after 7 p.m. This cessation of the "forward rate of spread" was announced by the mentioned agencies.
Subsequently, a second blaze spanning four acres was sparked by the collision of the helicopters. This secondary fire has since been successfully extinguished, as confirmed by Fulcher.
I would like to express our deepest sympathies and sorrow to the families and co-workers of the personnel. This was a tragic loss for the community, the fire service community and CalFire and Riverside County Fire Department.- Cal Fire Deputy Director of Communications Nick Schuler
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement: "Our thoughts and heartfelt sympathies are with the loved ones, friends and CAL FIRE colleagues mourning the loss of Assistant Chief Bischof, Fire Captain Rodriguez, and Pilot Sousa. This terrible tragedy is a reminder of the dangers our courageous firefighters face daily while working to keep our communities safe. We owe them our deepest respect and gratitude and will always honor their bravery and sacrifices."