By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):
Source: Huntington Beach Police Department (Information):
Newport Beach, California: The Huntington Beach Police Department has confirmed that a 14 year veteran officer died and another officer was injured when their Huntington Beach Police Department helicopter crashed into the water.
Picture: KNBC 4 (Courtesy)
The police helicopter was heading to a “disturbance fight call” in Newport Beach, California at the time of the crash which happened shortly after 6:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, February 19th, 2022 in the water near West Balboa Boulevard and 18th Street.
Reports from witnesses and near by residents that the police helicopter was spinning and descending rapidly towards the water before impacting the water.
Both of the officers became trapped in the wreckage, and both of the officers were rescued and taken to the hospital.
During a Saturday night’s news conference, Huntington Beach Police Department Chief Eric Parra said the officer has been identified as 44 year old Nicholas Vella.
In a Twitter post, the Huntington Beach Police Department tweeted the following, “It is with tremendous sorrow that we announce the passing of Officer Nicholas Vella, a 14-year veteran of HBPD. Officer Vella died this evening after our police helicopter, HB-1, crashed into the waters off Newport while responding to a call for service. A second officer was injured and is in stable condition. Officer Vella leaves behind a wife and daughter. He served the community of Huntington Beach with honor and dignity. Please join us in extending prayers to Officer Vella’s family. We want to thank the community and our law enforcement partners for your support during this difficult time.“
Picture: KTTV Fox 11 (Courtesy)
Hundreds of police officers saluting outside of Orange County Global Medical Center as his body was being taken to the coroner’s office.
A procession to the coroner’s office was held for Huntington Beach Police Department Officer Nicholas Vella with officers and firefighters saluting as the vehicle with him inside passed by, even passing underneath a large American flag held up by fire department ladder trucks.
The second officer has only been identified by the Huntington Beach Police Department as a 16 year veteran with the department.
During a Saturday night’s news conference, Huntington Beach Police Department Chief Eric Parra said the second officer was taken to the hospital in critical condition and was doing okay.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.
ZachNews and the community sends our thoughts prayers and condolences to the family and friends of the fallen officer, and hope for a speedy recovery and get well wishes to the second officer injured in the helicopter crash tonight.