An officer with the Huntington Beach Police Department was killed when a police helicopter crashed near Newport Beach, California, on Saturday, according to officials.
“The helicopter crash-landed at about 6:30 p.m. while responding to a disturbance near Newport Beach, according to police,” ABC 7 reported Sunday.
It is with tremendous sorrow that we announce the passing of Officer Nicholas Vella, a 14-year veteran of HBPD. Officer…
The department noted that Vella left behind his wife and daughter, adding, “He served the community of Huntington Beach with honor and dignity.”
The second officer was not identified, but in a social media post Sunday the department said the officer had been released from the hospital.
“Thank you to our HB community & law enforcement family for the love & support you continue to show Officer Vella’s family & our Department,” the post read.
It was not immediately known who was piloting the aircraft when it went down. Aerial video footage showed the helicopter on its side in the water:
Additional footage showed first responders at the scene pulling the officers from the aircraft:
A witness who spoke with CBS Los Angeles relayed what happened in the moments before the crash, saying he and others were driving nearby and “heard the pitch of the helicopter and it sounded like the helicopter was in distress.”
“When we looked at the helicopter it was out of control. It was obvious the helicopter was gonna go down. It did go down, and almost immediately sunk,” the person added.
First responders later held a procession for Vella when his body was taken to the Orange County Coroner’s Office.
“The National Transportation Safety Board and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Major Accident Reconstruction Team are investigating the crash,” the ABC 7 report concluded.