LAS VEGAS, N.M. — Four people have been killed in a crash of a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office helicopter that was headed back to Albuquerque after assisting firefighters in another New Mexico city, authorities said Sunday.
Sheriff’s officials said three people from the sheriff’s office and a county firefighter were aboard the helicopter when it went down near Las Vegas, New Mexico, about 123 miles (197 kilometers) northeast of Albuquerque.
A Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman said the Bell UH-1H helicopter crashed around 10 p.m. Saturday.
New Mexico State Police confirmed the crash and the fatalities around 12:15 a.m. Sunday.
Authorities didn’t immediately identify the four who died or disclose any details about the crash.
“There are no known survivors,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Jayme Fuller said in a statement. “At this time the investigation into this incident is in its preliminary stages.”
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the cause of the crash.
Aerial video from KOAT-TV showed the wreckage of the helicopter in at least two pieces among some desert shrubs, reported the Albuquerque Journal.
In the past several days, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office used its Metro 2 helicopter to fight a small fire in the East Mountains near Albuquerque and the Atalaya Fire near Santa Fe, according to Albuquerque TV station KQRE.
“I am heartbroken by the tragic loss of four New Mexicans while in the line of duty,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “As we await additional details on the investigation, my office will offer any available support and assistance to the sheriff’s office and the county. State resources will be fully available to assist the investigation.”
July 18, 2022 at 01:39AM Associated Press