Home New mexico state 4 dead when sheriff’s office helicopter crashes in New Mexico after helping fight wildfire

4 dead when sheriff’s office helicopter crashes in New Mexico after helping fight wildfire

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Three Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office employees and one county fire department employee were killed near Las Vegas, New Mexico, the sheriff’s office said on social media.
They have been identified as Deputy Larry Koren, 55, Lt. Fred Beers, 51, and Deputy Michael Levison, 30, all of the sheriff’s office, and rescue specialist Matthew King, 44, of Bernalillo County Fire Rescue, has BCSO Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III announced Monday.
The helicopter and its crew had left Albuquerque to help with the East Mesa fire and were assisting ground crews with aerial logistics and bucket drops over the blaze, BCSO Captain Nick Huffmyer said. at a press conference Monday.

After the helicopter refueled and returned to Albuquerque, all communication with the crew was lost near Las Vegas, officials said.

The crash site was discovered shortly thereafter. It is still unclear why the plane crashed.

The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and New Mexico State Police are investigating the cause, according to Huffmyer.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham responded to the deaths of first responders on Sunday, expressing her deepest sympathy to their families on behalf of the people of New Mexico.

“They were dedicated public servants doing what first responders do day in and day out: working tirelessly for their fellow New Mexicans,” the governor said on Twitter.

Grisham on Monday ordered the flags to be flown at half-mast until sunset July 22 to commemorate the lives of slain first responders.

The sheriff offered his condolences to the families of the victims at Monday’s press conference, which involved a minute’s silence for fallen first responders.

“All of these people were dedicated,” the sheriff said. “We understood that they loved what they were doing to the point that I find some comfort in knowing that they lost their lives doing what they loved.”

Koren, who had worked for the department for 23 years, leaves behind a wife and two sons.

Beers was a 13-year veteran of the sheriff’s office and is survived by his wife, son, father and sister.

Levison, who began his career with the sheriff’s office more than four years ago, is survived by his girlfriend, parents and two brothers, including a deputy in the same department.

King, who had more than 11 years of service, is survived by his wife, son and daughter.