Two firefighters and a pilot have reportedly been killed after a mid-air collision involving two helicopters tackling a fire in California.
Emergency officials said the aircrafts were fighting a blaze in Riverside County, in the south of the US state.
Sheriff’s deputies responded at 7.20pm on Sunday to an air emergency in the area of Pipeline Road and Apache trail as crews were battling a fire near Cabazon, according to a post by the Riverside County Sheriff’s office on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The other helicopter landed safely and no one on board was hurt but the crash caused an additional 4-acre (1.6-hectare) fire, which was extinguished.
“Unfortunately, the second helicopter crashed and tragically all three members perished which included one Cal Fire Division chief, one Cal Fire captain and one contract client pilot,” Cal Fire Southern Region Chief David Fulcher said during a news conference early Monday.
Chief Fulcher did not identify the victims.
The helicopter which crashed was performing work under contract with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, fire captain and spokesman Richard Cordova said.
The incident is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.