2 officers killed when police helicopter crashes into sugarcane field
Two Baton Rouge police officers died in a helicopter accident early Sunday morning, authorities have confirmed.
The helicopter , a Robinson R-44 model that belonged to the Baton Rouge Police Department, was dispatched at around 2 a.m. to help with a pursuit and then it crashed, CBS affiliate WAFB reported. A search was initiated several hours after the helicopter initially disappeared, according to the station, and the wreckage was ultimately found before 11 a.m. in a sugarcane field near Port Allen.
Baton Rouge Police said they are "deeply saddened by the line of duty deaths of two dedicated members of our department" in a statement shared to Facebook on Sunday.
"This tragic incident is currently being investigated by multiple law enforcement agencies, as well as other entities that regulate aviation and airspace travel," the statement read. "The entire BRPD family extends our deepest sympathy to the families, friends and all those touched by these officers' lives and service."
The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating the crash. Officials at the Federal Aviation Administration will also be involved in the probe, according to WAFB. The station shared video footage Sunday that showed a group of law enforcement officers at the site of the crash, saluting a vehicle as it escorted the bodies of those who were killed.
HONORING THE FALLEN 💙🖤
Law enforcement officers escort the two fallen Baton Rouge Police pilots from the scene of the deadly helicopter crash in Erwinvillehttps://t.co/WTA7vm8ihQ pic.twitter.com/aqGMXDx1GS
— WAFB (@WAFB) March 26, 2023
The names of the police pilots killed in the crash were not released as of Monday morning. Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul told WAFB that the department is asking the public "to be respectful of the investigative process because it does take time so that we can release all the facts related to this incident to the family as well as the community."
Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome responded to the news of the deadly helicopter crash in a series of tweets.
"On behalf of the City of Baton Rouge, I extend my deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of the BRPD officers who tragically lost their lives," Broome wrote on Twitter.
On behalf of the City of Baton Rouge, I extend my deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of the BRPD officers who tragically lost their lives today in a helicopter crash.
— Sharon Weston Broome (@MayorBroome) March 26, 2023
"We are working closely with the Baton Rouge Police Department to offer support for their investigation into the cause of this tragedy and to provide support to the families and colleagues of the fallen officers," she added.
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