4 Dead in New Mexico Helicopter Crash After Sheriffs, Fire Department Responded to Wildfire

·2 min read
bernalillo county helicopter crash
bernalillo county helicopter crash

bernalillo county sheriff's office/facebook New Mexico helicopter

Four men are dead after a helicopter they were onboard after helping fight a wildfire crashed near Las Vegas, New Mexico.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office confirmed the tragedy on social media early Sunday morning, announcing that the crash involved one of their Metro 2 aircraft around 7:20 p.m. the previous evening.

BCSO went on to say that "there are no known survivors," and that three of their employees and one fire department official were onboard.

The office later confirmed the names and job titles of the deceased: Undersheriff Larry Koren, Lieutenant Fred Beers, Deputy Michael Levison and Rescue Specialist Matthew King.

"These personnel were headed back to Albuquerque after assisting fire crews with the East Mesa Fire," the sheriff's office said in their initial post.

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In their post sharing more details later on Sunday, BCSO said the men "were assisting with a wildfire in the area, providing bucket drops and other air logistics needs to fire crews on the ground."

"At this time, the specific cause of the crash is unknown," they said, "Today we are working with the Office of the Medical Investigator to recover the fallen from the crash site and escort them to Albuquerque."

"Our focus remains on providing care and support for the surviving family members as they grapple with the situation," BCSO added.

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BCSO said in their follow-up post that the investigation "is currently ongoing" and "the information we provide in this update is still considered preliminary."

"In the coming days, we will announce a time and location for an official press conference," they wrote. "To ensure the continuity of the information being published in the media, we are not currently answering individual inquiries. Rather, we are providing unified official press releases such as this one."

At 3:03 a.m. on Sunday, the National Transportation Safety Board tweeted that they are "investigating the 7/16/2022 crash of a Bell UH-1H helicopter near Chapelle, New Mexico." (Chapelle is about 19 miles from Las Vegas.)