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2 Southern California firefighters and a pilot were killed after a midair collision, officials say

by Chloe Baker
5 comments

Three individuals lost their lives after a collision involving two firefighting helicopters in Southern California on Sunday, while they were engaged in combating a fire in Riverside County, according to statements from emergency authorities.

The incident involved two helicopters; one managed to land without harm. Tragically, the second helicopter crashed, resulting in the death of all three occupants. Among the deceased were a division chief and a captain from Cal Fire, as well as a pilot working on a contractual basis. The Southern Region Chief of Cal Fire, David Fulcher, provided this information in an early Monday press conference, although he refrained from revealing the identities of the victims.

Emergency personnel from Cal Fire and Riverside County Fire Department had been summoned to a reported building fire close to the crossroads of Broadway Street and South Ronda Avenue in the community of Cabazon, according to Fulcher.

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Upon the arrival of the first responding engine company, the fire was discovered to have spread into nearby vegetation, prompting a full wildland fire response, including the deployment of both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.

The two helicopters collided in the midst of fighting the fire, sparking an additional fire that covered 4 acres (1.6 hectares). Fortunately, this subsequent fire was brought under control and extinguished.

Reflecting on the tragic loss, Fulcher remarked, “Although this was a tragic event, we are also thankful today that it wasn’t worse.” He further noted the safe landing of the first helicopter and confirmed that no other injuries occurred in the incident.

An aerial image captured from a video supplied by ABC7 Los Angeles illustrated the scene of the crash, showing emergency vehicles at the base of a mountain, with the area sealed off by police tape, in Cabazon, California, dated Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023.

The pilot who died was operating under a contract with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, as noted by fire captain and spokesperson Richard Cordova on Sunday evening.

The cause of the crash is now under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

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What happened in Southern California involving two firefighting helicopters?

Two firefighting helicopters collided while fighting a blaze in Riverside County, Southern California. One of the helicopters landed safely, while the second crashed, resulting in the death of all three members on board.

Who were the victims of the helicopter collision?

The victims included one Cal Fire Division chief, one Cal Fire captain, and one contract client pilot. Their names have not been publicly disclosed.

Where did the collision take place?

The collision occurred in the community of Cabazon, near the intersection of Broadway Street and South Ronda Avenue, in Riverside County, Southern California.

When did the incident occur?

The incident happened on Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023.

What caused the helicopters to collide?

The specific cause of the collision is not mentioned in the text, but it is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Were there any other fires or damage as a result of the collision?

Yes, the crash caused an additional 4-acre (1.6-hectare) fire, but it was extinguished.

Who is investigating the crash?

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

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5 comments

DavidR August 7, 2023 - 10:52 am

what’s happening to the world? first the fires now this, it’s like things are getting worse by the day. stay safe out there everyone!

Reply
Mike87 August 7, 2023 - 12:59 pm

ive been to cabazon many times, to think that a tragedy like this could happen there. Safety must come first people!

Reply
John Smith August 8, 2023 - 4:30 am

I cant believe this happened in my hometown. prayers for the families involved…

Reply
Sara_Jones August 8, 2023 - 5:42 am

such a tragic event, why aren’t there more regulations for things like this? anyone knw the name of the victims?

Reply
Tina_M August 8, 2023 - 8:29 am

so sad for the people who lost their lives. thank god the other helicopter landed safely. Condolences to the families.

Reply

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