Three people lost their lives on Sunday evening when a helicopter deployed to combat a wildfire in Southern California collided with another helicopter and crashed, according to officials. The incident occurred in Riverside County, just east of Los Angeles, as crews were responding to a fire that had started in a building and spread to the surrounding area. Southern Region Chief David Fulcher of Cal Fire, the state’s firefighting agency, reported that the three men who died were aboard one of the helicopters, while the other helicopter landed safely.
Chief Fulcher, speaking at a news conference on Monday, did not disclose the names of the victims but revealed that they included two Cal Fire personnel and a pilot. He added that no other injuries were reported. Both helicopters were operating under an “exclusive agreement” with Cal Fire. The collision and subsequent crash also sparked an additional four-acre fire, which was ultimately extinguished.
Describing the incident as a “tragic loss” for the community, Chief Fulcher expressed his sorrow, stating, “We’ve lost three great individuals. Three fathers, three husbands, three friends, three sons.” The fire had initially been reported by Cal Fire at 6 p.m. on Sunday, with its spread limited to approximately three acres. Within an hour, the agency confirmed that the fire had been contained. However, the helicopter crash resulted in the additional blaze.
In conclusion, this unfortunate incident highlights the risks faced by those fighting wildfires and the bravery they demonstrate as they work to protect communities. The loss of three lives serves as a somber reminder of the dangers inherent in such missions. Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the deceased during this difficult time.