Police helicopter crash kills officer, injures another at California Beach
A Southern California police officer is dead and a second is seriously injured following a helicopter crash south of Los Angeles, authorities said.
The police plane crashed into Newport Beach harbor on Saturday night, killing Huntington Beach police officer Nicholas Vellas, 44, who was a married father. A second officer who was traveling with him was taken to hospital and is in critical condition, police said at a news conference on Saturday. This officer was not immediately identified.
“This is a difficult night for all of us and I would ask for your prayers and support as we support the officers’ families and continue to grieve,” Huntington Beach Police Chief Eric Parra said during the interview. the press conference.
Officers were responding to a “disruptive battle call” along the beach, Parra said. Newport Beach Police Chief Jon T. Lewis said authorities’ emergency response to the helicopter crash was “instantaneous”.
The crash happened just hours after another helicopter crash in Miami Beach, Florida. The incident, in which the descending plane came within meters of bathers, reportedly left two of the three passengers with broken backs. Video shared by the Miami Beach Police Department on Twitter shows the helicopter plunging into the water as people dot the sand and water nearby.
Both incidents are being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, authorities said.
In the subsequent Newport Beach crash, Parra said it was unclear what “caused the aircraft to become disabled”. Police force helicopters, which are regularly serviced, have been removed for inspection before being used again, he said at the press conference.
“It’s a dangerous job, flying is extremely dangerous, law enforcement is extremely dangerous, so you can’t account for all the mechanical issues and I don’t know if it was mechanical or not, but I know it was a big issue,” he said. noted. “But we’ll find out what that problem or those problems were and we’ll fix it so we don’t have similar incidents in the future.”