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First responder helicopter crash kills 3 cops, 1 firefighter in NM

Bell UH-1H helicopter (Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office)
July 17, 2022

A New Mexico sheriff’s department helicopter crashed late Saturday after responding to a fire, killing all four people who were in the aircraft when it went down, authorities said.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) confirmed on Twitter at 2:26 Sunday morning that their helicopter known as Metro 2 went down near Las Vegas, New Mexico.

“This evening we learned that one of our aircraft, Metro 2, was involved in a crash near Las Vegas, NM,” BCSO tweeted.

“Preliminary information indicates that 3 BCSO personnel and 1 Bernalillo County Fire employee were onboard at the time of the crash.  There are no known survivors,” the sheriff’s office continued in a separate tweet. “These personnel were headed back to Albuquerque after assisting fire crews with the East Mesa Fire.”

The BCSO said that an investigation into the incident “is in its preliminary stages” and the office will disclose additional information as it becomes available.

“Representatives from BCSO are on scene along with the New Mexico State Police.  At this time the investigation into this incident is in its preliminary stages,” the office tweeted. “As we learn further details, we will provide them through official press releases like this one”

“Please keep these individuals and their families in your thoughts and prayers tonight,” BCSO added.

The New Mexico State Police (NMSP) posted on Twitter that they, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) all responded to the scene of the crash.  

“New Mexico State Police is on scene of a helicopter crash with four fatalities in San Miguel county. FAA and NTSB are responding to investigate. More information will be released when available,” the NMSP tweeted.

The NTSB tweeted that the board is investigating the crash and revealed that the aircraft was a Bell UH-1H helicopter.

“NTSB investigating the 7/16/2022 crash of a Bell UH-1H helicopter near Chapelle, New Mexico,” the agency tweeted.

Several helicopter crashes have occurred over the last few months, including a U.S. Navy helicopter that went down near El Centro, Calif. during a routine training flight. Naval Air Forces for the U.S. Pacific Fleet (AIRPAC) confirmed the crash of an MH-60S Seahawk in a press statement. 

All four crew members on board survived the incident, though one of the crew members had to be taken to a local hospital after sustaining non-life-threatening injuries.

While all four crew members survived the crash, the Navy helicopter is the third U.S. military aircraft to crash in the span of a week. The incident came less than 48 hours after all five crew members on board a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey were killed in a crash during a training exercise near Glamis, Calif. about 40 miles away from El Centro.