Four people were killed in New Mexico. After going to fight a wildfire, a helicopter crashes.
Three people from the county sheriff’s office and one person from the county fire department were on their way back to Albuquerque after fighting a wildfire.
Authorities said on Sunday that a helicopter crashed on its way back to Albuquerque from a wildfire in New Mexico. Three members of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and one member of the Bernalillo County Fire Department died in the crash.
Officials say the helicopter crashed Saturday around 7:20 p.m. local time near Las Vegas, N.M.
Undersheriff Larry Koren, Lt. Fred Beers, Deputy Michael Levison, and rescue specialist Matthew King were all on the helicopter.
The sheriff’s office said Sunday afternoon that their focus is still on helping the family members who are still alive deal with the situation.
A spokesman for the Bernalillo County Fire Department, Lt. Robert T. Arguelles, said that the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will look into what caused the crash. The New Mexico State Police and the sheriff’s office went to the scene.
The bodies were being brought to Albuquerque by the medical examiner’s office, the sheriff’s office said.
Bernalillo County Commissioner Charlene Pyskoty wrote on Twitter, “I am completely heartbroken.” “Keeping people I care about in my heart.”
Lieutenant Arguelles said that the crew of the helicopter was going to a fire in East Mesa that started about two days ago and was thought to have been started by lightning.
The sheriff’s office said, “The helicopter and its crew were helping with a wildfire in the area by dropping buckets and doing other things that fire crews on the ground needed from the air.”
The East Mesa fire is close to the Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fires, which have burned more than 341 700 acres and are only 93 percent contained.
This year, New Mexico’s wildfire season started earlier than ever before because it was too dry, too warm, and there were strong winds. By June, it was already one of the worst years for fires in the history of the state, and there was still at least another month to go.
This year, two planned fires set by the U.S. Forest Service in New Mexico to control wildfires got out of hand and destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands of people to leave their homes.