Four Dead in FL Firefighting Helicopter Crash

May 26, 2021
A Black Hawk firefighting helicopter was testing a new water bucket system when it appeared to break apart and go down near the Leesburg Airport.

Four people have been confirmed dead after a firefighting helicopter crashed during a training exercise in Florida on Tuesday.

The crash involving a Black Hawk helicopter happened at about 4 p.m. in a marshy, heavily wooded area near the Leesburg Airport, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Four people were aboard the helicopter, which appeared to break apart, according to Leesburg police.

Officials said the Black Hawk helicopter was testing a new water bucket system when the crash happened. On Wednesday afternoon, firefighters recovered the bodies of those aboard, and they were taken to the medical examiner's office to be identified.

"The crash appears to be a total loss," an online update by Leesburg Fire Rescue stated. "No survivors have been located. One confirmed death at this time."

Leesburg firefighters were able to get the fire under control, and U.S. Forestry workers plowed a line around the scene to prevent vegetation fires, the department stated. The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified, and it will investigate the incident along with the National Transportation Safety Board.

“They’ll then write up confirmed facts in a preliminary report, which will come out roughly two weeks after the crash,” an NTSB spokesman told the Sentinel.

Police confirmed that the aircraft is owned by Firehawk Helicopters, which has a hangar at Leesburg Airport. The private company has nine Black Hawk helicopters and handles firefighting, charter, testing, construction and movie and TV production flights, according to its Facebook page.

The company will not identify those aboard the helicopter until their families have been notified, the Sentinel reports. It also is working with authorities on the investigation.

“The Firehawk Helicopters Family is heartbroken and deeply saddened to report that a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter operating on a mission at the Leesburg International Airport was involved in an accident Tuesday afternoon,” the company said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the crew members that were onboard.”

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Firehouse, create an account today!