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Three Killed In CAL Fire Helicopter Crash In Southern California

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Update at 11:33 am: Governor Gavin Newsom has released the names of the three firefighters killed in a helicopter crash Sunday evening in Riverside County. They are  CAL FIRE Assistant Chief Josh Bischof, CAL FIRE Fire Captain Tim Rodriguez, and contract Pilot Tony Sousa.

Governor Newsom adds, “On behalf of all Californians, our thoughts and heartfelt sympathies are with the loved ones, friends, and CAL FIRE colleagues mourning the loss of Assistant Chief Bischof, Fire Captain Rodriguez, and Pilot Sousa. This terrible tragedy is a reminder of the dangers our courageous firefighters face daily while working to keep our communities safe. We owe them our deepest respect and gratitude and will always honor their bravery and sacrifices.”

Original story posted at 6:54 am: Cabazon, CA — Three people died when two helicopters collided last night while fighting a fire in Southern California.

It happened in the community of Cabazon in Riverside County. CAL Fire’s Southern Region Chief, David Fulcher, stated in an early morning press conference, “The first helicopter was able to land safely, nearby. Unfortunately, the second helicopter crashed and tragically all three members perished. They included one CAL Fire Division Chief, one CAL Fire Captain, and one contracted pilot.”

Limited details were released.

The cause of the incident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. Governor Gavin Newsom put out a short statement that his office is in close coordination with CAL Fire and Riverside County officials about the crash. The fire started in a house and spread to nearby vegetation.  The crash caused an additional four-acre fire that was quickly contained.

  • CAL Fire Chief David Fulcher speaks at press conference about helicopter crash