One pilot died and another was injured after a police helicopter crashed on Saturday night in the western US state of California, authorities said on Sunday.
The helicopter crash-landed in the Newport Beach area in Orange County at around 6.30 p.m. local time (0230 GMT Sunday), according to the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD).
“It is with tremendous sorrow that we announce the passing of Officer Nicholas Vella, a 14-year veteran of HBPD. Officer Vella died this evening after our police helicopter, HB-1, crashed into the waters off Newport while responding to a call for service,” said the department in a statement posted on its Facebook page, adding that a second officer was injured and is in stable condition.
A witness at the scene told KABC-TV, the West Coast flagship station of the ABC television network, that people saw the helicopter spinning and descending rapidly into the water, Xinhua news agency reported.
Officials said the department’s other helicopters will be grounded for inspections and an investigation will be carried out by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Major Accident Reconstruction Team.