A BCSO helicopter, Metro 2, crashed in San Miguel County on Saturday night near Las Vegas, NM. The aircraft was returning to Albuquerque after those on board helped fire crews fighting the East Mesa Fire with bucket drops and other services.
BCSO and NM State Police are on the scene to investigate. There were no survivors. The deceased are Undersheriff Lawrence "Larry" Koren, Lieutenant Fred Beers, Deputy Michael Levison and BCFD Rescue Specialist Matthew King. Undersheriff Koren ran for Bernalillo County Sheriff in the Democratic primary in June.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued this statement:
"I am heartbroken by the tragic loss of four New Mexicans while in the line of duty. These were four dedicated public servants who were doing what so many of our first responders do day in and day out: working tirelessly to serve and protect their fellow New Mexicans. On behalf of the people of New Mexico, I extend my deepest gratitude to these four brave individuals, and my deepest sympathy to their families, friends and colleagues.
“As we await additional details on the investigation, my office will offer any available support and assistance to the sheriff’s office and the county. State resources will be fully available to assist the investigation.”
U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury (N.M.-01) said, in part:
“I am heartbroken to learn of the loss of four Bernalillo County first responders from the Sheriff’s Office and County Fire Department as they returned from fighting the East Mesa Fire...We owe our firefighters and first responders more than we can ever repay, and I will be monitoring the situation closely. My team and I stand ready to assist our first responders and their families with anything they may need as our community comes together in support.”
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board also will be investigating the crash.
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