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Issues reported before police helicopter crashes in Newport Bay killing one officer

Police Helicopter Crash (FILE)
Posted at 11:12 AM, Feb 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 13:05:47-05

NEWPORT BAY, Calif. (KERO) — UPDATE (10 AM): (AP) - Authorities say a pilot reported mechanical issues shortly before a police helicopter crashed nose first along the Southern California coast, killing one officer.

Nicholas Vella, a 14-year veteran, died in the crash. The other officer, who hasn’t been named, was released from a hospital on Sunday.


One police officer is dead and another was critically injured after the helicopter they were in crashed in shallow water in California's Newport Bay.

The Huntington Beach Police Department confirmed the officers were responding to a disturbance/fight call when the chopper went down Saturday evening.

"Two officers from the Huntington Beach Police Department were responding to Newport Beach," explained Chief Eric Parra of the Huntington Beach Police Department. "They were responding in our helicopter, which is called HB1. The helicopter crashed for reasons that were not certain of. One of the officers, 16-year veteran was extricated, and he went to a local hospital or, nearby hospital where he is in critical condition, but he is doing okay. The other officer, a 14-year veteran, unfortunately, and tragically passed away as a result of injuries sustained during the crash."

While details are limited at this time the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what caused the helicopter to crash.