Two firefighting helicopters collided mid-air while fighting a fire in the Cabazon area of Riverside County, killing all three crew on board. The incident happened Sunday evening about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.
2 firefighters and a pilot killed in a mid-air collision while battling a wildfire in Southern California, CalFire says.
A division chief, a fire captain and a contract pilot lost their lives in the crash.
In Cabazon, the firemen and the police ride in a procession to honor them pic.twitter.com/ScnQze1WiO
— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) August 7, 2023
Both helicopters were contracted by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The collision occurred at approximately six in the afternoon.
A Cal Fire division chief, a Cal Fire captain and a pilot were killed. They have yet to be identified.
The cause of the collision is unclear and is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.
NTSB spokeswoman Jennifer Gabris said by email to the Washington Post that the agency’s investigators were moving to the scene of the accident. He identified the two aircraft involved as a Bell 407 helicopter and a Sikorsky S-64E helicopter.
The accident caused a secondary fire that affected approximately four hectares before it was extinguished
“I would like to express our deepest condolences to the family and co-workers of the staff. It was a tragic loss,” said Cal Fire Southern Region Chief David Fulcher, without identifying the victims. “We lost three great people. Three fathers, three husbands, three friends.”
Press conference: Helicopter crash in Cabazon, CA https://t.co/J7ngV1TK1L
— CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department (@CALFIRERRU) August 7, 2023