Three people killed in helicopter collision while battling a fire in California


In Southern California, three individuals lost their lives in a tragic aviation accident while battling a fire in Riverside County. Southern California Fire Chief David Fulcher reported in a press conference that one of the helicopters involved managed to land safely, but unfortunately, the second helicopter crashed, resulting in the tragic deaths of all three occupants.

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The deceased included a division chief and a captain from the California fire department, as well as a contracted pilot. However, the fire chief did not provide the victims' identities.

The incident took place in the context of responding to a fire near the intersection of Broadway Street and South Ronda Avenue in the town of Cabazon. After state and county fire crews responded to a call regarding a structure fire, the flames spread to vegetation, leading to a wildfire-fighting operation involving fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

Tragically, during the aerial firefighting operations, the two helicopters collided in midair, causing a second fire that consumed 1.6 hectares and was subsequently brought under control.

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Fire Chief Fulcher expressed his gratitude that the situation wasn't even worse, as the occupants of the first helicopter managed to land without incident, and no one else was injured.

The pilot of the crashed helicopter was contracted by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the incident to determine the causes of the crash.