California firefighter helicopters crash, killing three

Crews were responding to fire to the east of Los Angeles

Firefighting helicopter crashes during battle against California blaze

Firefighting helicopter crashes during battle against California blaze
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Three people were killed on Sunday after two helicopters responding to fires in Southern California collided into one another, officials have said.

One of the helicopters had landed safely, but the other crashed “and tragically all three members perished”, fire chief David Fulcher said.

Mr Fulcher did not identify the victims.

The helicopters were responding to a fire that had sparked near the intersection of Broadway Street and South Ronda Avenue in Carbazon. The blaze began as a structure fire but soon spread into vegetation.

Carbazon is a community of Riverside, California, and is roughly 90km east of Los Angeles.

The fire was approximately three hectares when firefighters responded at around 6pm local time on Sunday, the Riverside County Fire Department said. The “forward rate of spread has been stopped” an hour later.

“Although this was a tragic event, we are also thankful today that it wasn’t worse,” Mr Fulcher said.

“The individuals in the first helicopter were able to able to land safely without incident and no one else was hurt.”

Mr Fulcher said the crash would be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.

AP contributed to this report

Updated: August 07, 2023, 10:22 PM