California firefighting helicopter crashes after mid-air collision during fire response, multiple dead

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Multiple people are dead after a firefighting helicopter crashed following a mid-air collision Sunday night during an attempt to extinguish a brush fire in Riverside County, California.

The collision happened around 7:20 p.m. local time as crews were working to extinguish a fire on 20 acres of Native American land near Cabazon, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office said on social media.

The crash took place in the area of Pipeline Road and Apache Trail.

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Crash site of downed firefighting helicopter

A firefighting helicopter crashed after a mid-air collision Sunday night as it was attempting to extinguish a brush fire in Riverside County, California. (KTTV)

Officials indicated there were multiple fatalities from the crash, but the number of people aboard the chopper and their conditions are unclear. 

The helicopter involved in the collision was a contracted chopper for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, according to fire captain and spokesman Richard Cordova.

“We’re still working out the details on how many injuries and unfortunately fatalities,” Cordova told FOX 11 LA.

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Riverside County, California, fire

California fire officials indicated the crash resulted in multiple fatalities, but further details were not released. (KTTV)

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A witness told the outlet they observed the helicopter collide with another aircraft before the crash.

Cordova said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the collision.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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