4 months after tragic helicopter crash, BCSO relaunches Metro Air Support Unit
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BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. – The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office relaunched its Metro Air Support Unit Monday after a tragic crash killed four first responders.
“It’s been difficult but today’s a good day,” said BCSO Sheriff Manny Gonzales.
Bernalillo County’s Metro 2 helicopter went down near Las Vegas on July 16. BCSO Undersheriff Larry Koren, Lt. Fred Beers, Deputy Michael Levison and BCFD Rescue Specialist Matt King died in the crash.
Official autopsies of the men were released last week and showed the men died from blunt force trauma resulting from the crash.
“A lot of people were uncertain about whether we were able to move forward, and I give all the credit to the staff. It’s been very difficult coming to work every day knowing the losses they had, but they’ve come to work diligently working hard with the thought of getting back up in the air,” said Gonzales.
On Monday, Chopper 4 flew alongside Metro 1 on the Metro Air Support Unit’s first flight since that crash.
BCSO deputies have flown Metro 1 since 2007.
“It can carry up to five people. On general patrol is usually just the two of us in there,” said BCSO Sgt. Charles Lill. “It does have a little bit of capacity for fire bucket work, and rescue work.”
Gonzales says the first priority of the relaunched unit is patrol missions.
“We do have our things that we have to go through in terms of the red tape to get there, but we’re pressing forward,” said Gonzales.