Huntington Beach

HBPD copter crash kills officer

HUNTINGTON BEACH Police Department helicopter (HBPD photo).

 

UPDATE: The second officer in the crash of the Huntington Beach police helicopter has been released from the hospital.

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The Huntington Beach police helicopter on its way to help Newport Beach police crashed into the waters Saturday evening, resulting in the death of one officer and injuries to another.

According to Public Information Officer Jennifer Carey, the tragedy occurred shortly after 6:30 p.m. Killed was Officer Nicholas Vella, 44. A second officer is hospitalized in stable condition.

The helicopter was en route to a report of a fight in progress near 18th Street and Balboa Avenue when it crashed into the water near Newport Beach. Civilians and public safety personnel jumped into the water and to rescue the officers, who were taken to area hospitals.

Vella died from his injuries, He was a 14-year-veteran of the HBPD and leaves behind a wife and daughter.

“There are no words that can express this loss adequately,” said HBPD Chief Eric Parra. “We are deeply grieving for Officer Vella’s family, and as a police department, we grieve as well.”

An investigation into the cause of the crash is underway.

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