BCSO releases timeline leading up to deadly helicopter crash
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bernalillo County officials held a press conference Monday afternoon to provide additional information on the helicopter crash that killed four first responders over the weekend.
BCSO Undersheriff Larry Koren, Lt. Fred Beers, Deputy Michael Levison and Bernalillo County Fire Department Rescue Specialist Matthew King were killed in the crash.
Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales and Fire Chief Greg Perez spoke about the loss they’re now having to deal with. Both say their first priority is to take care of the families that are now left without fathers, husbands, and sons.
Gonzales said the heroes left this world serving our community.
“First and foremost, the thing we want to actually acknowledges is the four people that are deceased, they are bar none heroes to us. Far before this incident, they were doing this type of work whether it be rescues whether it be firefighting or police work. All these people were dedicated, we understood that they loved what they did, to the point where I find some comfort in knowing that, that they lost their lives doing what they loved,” said Gonzales.
Three of the first responders aboard were with BCSO: Undersheriff Larry Koren, Lt. Fred Beers, Deputy Michael Levison.
The fourth first responder was BCFD Rescue Specialist Matthew King.
Bernalillo County Fire Chief Greg Perez says this kind of loss is unprecedented for the fire department and sheriff’s office.
“This is one area that we’re not professionals in. The men standing behind me and the women, we’re professionals in law enforcement. We’re professionals and firefighting. We’re professionals in medical response. We’re not professionals in grieving the loss of fellow members. So we’re learning as we go,” said Perez.
Gonzales says the crash has had a major impact on his department and he’s grateful for the support from other agencies in the state.
According to BCSO, two state police officers were first to the crash, doing what they could for their fellow first responders – but sadly it was too late.
The big question on everyone’s minds is what caused the crash?
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, but so far they haven’t said much.
A spokesperson told KOB 4 Monday that the helicopter hit the ground upright at a high rate of speed and rolled over.
We could see a preliminary report in the best weeks – but a full report from the NTSB could take up to two years. In the meantime, NTSB representatives are hoping witnesses will contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A GoFundMe page has been organized for the four victims.
To watch the full news conference, click on the video above.
JULY 16, 2022
10:56 a.m. Launch from Double Eagle Airport for PR event at Valle Del Oso on south 2nd Street
11:12 a.m. Arrive to Valle Del Oso
12:48 p.m. Depart Valle Del Oso to retrieve kayaks left on the Rio Grande from the previous day near Rio Grande Boulevard and Chamisal Road
1:18 p.m. Arrive to Double Eagle Airport
1:48 p.m. Depart Double Eagle Airport for East Mesa Fire to assist with bucket drops and short haul
2:50 p.m. Arrive on scene for East Mesa Fire/set up bucket for bucket drops
3:05 p.m. Launch from initial scene and performed approximately 20 bucket drops before next landing
4:19 p.m. Arrive to Las Vegas Airport to refuel
4:32 p.m. Depart Las Vegas Airport to perform more bucket drops
6:22 p.m. Arrive to Las Vegas Airport to refuel, mission at East Mesa Fire complete for the day
6:36 p.m. Depart Las Vegas to return back to Double Eagle
7:18 p.m. Last known location recorded just south of Las Vegas, N.M.
I’ll have a 🧵here of information from the news conference. Officials will not be taking questions from media.— Tessa Mentus (@TessaMentus) July 18, 2022
Bern. Co. Sheriff Manny Gonzales speaking.
Asks media to bear with him because it is extremely difficult. Sheriff choking up as he tries to speak.