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Two killed as Broward County Sheriff’s helicopter crashes into apartments

 August 29, 2023

A helicopter from the Broward County Sheriff's Fire Rescue met a tragic end when it crashed into an apartment building in Pompano Beach, Florida, leading to two deaths and injuring four others.

A distress signal received around 8:45 a.m. on Monday morning led to the deployment of three emergency crew members on a Eurocopter EC135 rescue helicopter.

Unfortunately, shortly after lifting off from Pompano Beach Airpark, the helicopter encountered mechanical failures, including a fire, resulting in a crash into a triplex building roughly two miles from the takeoff point, as the Daily Wire reported.

Victims of the crash

Sheriff Gregory Tony of Broward County reported that the crash claimed the lives of Captain/Flight Paramedic Terryson Jackson, 50, and an unidentified woman who was in her residence at the time.

Additionally, two other crew members and two civilians suffered minor injuries and were taken to Broward Health for treatment.

Sheriff Tony shared his sorrow, stating:

Terryson was a rock star. He was one of the best of us, one of the brightest. He bled this profession inside and out all day long. There’s almost 6,000 people in this agency. I’m not going to meet everybody, and I haven’t, but that man I knew. I knew very well. And the type of effort and commitment he had for this community – impeccable.

The injured crew members were identified as Pilot Daron Roche, 37, and firefighter/paramedic Mikael “Mike” Chaguaceda, 31.

Community response

The sheriff recognized the toll of the tragedy on both the community and the organization.

He also highlighting their dedication to continue serving despite the emotional pain.

Tony said:

This tragedy is really going to challenge us as a community, as every single tragedy has done since this agency has been around. I will tell you we are hurting. We are an organization that has gotten past all these different divisions over the years, and we have become a family. We are going to suffer, we are going to hurt, but this community should know we’re prepared to answer the next call. We are not going to lose our focus even though we are hurting and dealing with our own tragedy.

Bystanders recorded videos of the helicopter emitting smoke before it broke apart and lost control upon impact.

Other footage depicted the flaming apartment building and the surviving passengers managing to escape safely.

Investigation underway

Veda Coleman-Wright, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, confirmed that the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Agency are conducting separate investigations. She said:

In incidents like this, when aircraft go down, you see parallel investigations that have to occur. We’re asking for the public to be patient with us.

Local 10 News interviewed the relatives of the two injured civilians who were in their apartment during the crash.

Additionally, Ruben Chavez, a local worker near the crash site, hurried to assist the victims after hearing the crash.

He observed the subsequent explosions and subsquently described what he witnessed.

Chavez noted:

The top of the roof was all fire. A big ball of fire, that’s all. And then, a second explosion. I ran over there, but the police, the first two cops who got there, pushed us back, and that’s when the second explosion happened. We felt the heat, and that’s when we said we gotta go.

Conclusion

  • The crash of a Broward County Sheriff's Fire Rescue helicopter into an apartment building in Pompano Beach, Florida, resulted in two fatalities and four injuries.
  • The deceased were Captain/Flight Paramedic Terryson Jackson and an unidentified woman in her residence. The other injured individuals included two crew members and two civilians.
  • The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Agency are currently conducting separate investigations into the incident.