Fatalities reported after firefighting helicopter crashes in Riverside County

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Monday, August 7, 2023 6:29AM

Chopper crashes while battling brush fire in Riverside County

CABAZON, Calif. (KABC) — At least one person is dead after a firefighting helicopter crashed Sunday night while battling a brush fire in Riverside County.

The collision happened as crews were battling the Broadway Fire near Cabazon.

Officials say the crash resulted in one or more fatalties but there was no immediate word on how many crew members were aboard the chopper or if any survived.

The crash was reported in the area of Pipeline Road and Apache Trail, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office.

The helicopter was operating on a contract basis for firefighting agencies.

“We do know it was a CWN helicopter, which is a call-when-needed helicopter,” said Richard Cordova, spokesman for Cal Fire Riverside. “We utilize these helicopters to help us on bigger incidents throughout the state. We also utilizie these helicopters to boost our air program throughout the state.”

The Broadway Fire was reported in the area of Broadway and Esperanza avenues. It had spread to at least three acres.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Officials were not immediately able to confirm reports that the helicoper may have come in contact with another aircraft midair, but there were no visible indications on the scene of a second crash.

DEVELOPING: This story will be updated as more information become available.

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