Two firefighting helicopters collided mid-air on Sunday night, killing three firefighters fighting a fire near Cabazon, Southern California.
Firefighters were responding to a building fire near Cabazon when the flames ignited the surrounding vegetation, prompting a wildfire response and prompting the dispatch of helicopters. according to CAL Fire Department/Riverside County Fire Department. Two of the helicopters collided mid-air and one crashed to the ground while trying to extinguish the blaze, the newspaper said, igniting a new fire.
Media Briefing – Helicopter Crash in Cabazon, California https://t.co/J7ngV1TK1L
— CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department (@CALFIRERRU) August 7, 2023
Authorities put out the fire caused by the crash, but all three passengers on the crashed helicopter were killed, California Fire Department Southern District Chief David Fulcher said Monday morning, according to the Associated Press. Fulcher identified the victims as a California Fire Department Chief, a California Fire Department Chief, and a contracted pilot, the paper reported. (Related: Earl Sheriff helicopter crashes while responding to car crash, 6 hospitalized)
“While this was a tragic event, we are also grateful that things did not get any worse today. We were able to land safely without injury and there were no other injuries,” Fulcher said.
“We are thinking about this and how it will affect our family. People. Three friends. I have three sons,” Fulcher continued, adding that he is reaching out to his family to provide support during this difficult time.
An investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.