3 dead after firefighting helicopters collide midair in California, officials say

The crash also caused an additional fire spanning four acres, but it was extinguished.

Published: August 7, 2023 7:21am

Updated: August 7, 2023 7:30am

Three people are dead after two firefighting helicopters collided midair while fighting a blaze in Southern California, emergency responders said.

One of the helicopters managed to safely land, but the second helicopter, carrying three people, crashed on Sunday.

The deceased include a California Fire Division chief, a California Fire captain and a contracted pilot, Cal Fire Southern Region Chief David Fulcher said early Monday, according to The Associated Press.

Fulcher did not further identify those who perished.

The crash also caused an additional fire spanning four acres, but it was extinguished. 

"Although this was a tragic event, we are also thankful today that it wasn’t worse," Fulcher also said. "The individuals in the first helicopter were able to land safely without incident and no one else was hurt."

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.

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