U.S. Navy Reports Four Dead in Helicopter Crash Near Missile Facility in Hawaii

by Victoria Santiago

On Tuesday, February 22, the U.S. Navy reported that four people died in a contractor’s helicopter crash near a missile facility in Hawaii. The crash happened on the island of Kauai. At this time, the names of those killed are not yet available.

The chopper was being flown by Croman Corp. in support of a training operation. The crash is being investigated by multiple agencies. The National Transportation Safety Board said via Twitter that they are looking into the crash of the Sikorsky S-61N chopper. On top of that, the missile range will be looking into the cause of the crash.

First responders rushed to the scene to help and to support the military. Kauai police came together with the Navy to help with perimeter security and investigation support, according to county spokesperson Coco Zickos.

These kinds of choppers are made to be used over large bodies of water. Versions of them are used by all branches of the U.S. military. They were made by Sikorsky Aircraft, which is now part of parent company Lockheed Martin, according to ABC News. Lockheed is one of the biggest defense contractors in the world.

A veteran police officer in Huntington Beach, CA died in a helicopter crash. Another officer was left critically injured.

Nicholas Vella, 44, died due to injuries he got during the crash. He had been with the Huntington Beach Police Department for 14 years. He left behind a wife and a daughter.

Vella’s partner was taken to a local trauma center straightaway. At this time, his name has not been released to the public.

According to officials, the crash happened after 6:30 p.m., about 40 miles from Los Angeles. Since it was early, the beaches to still be packed. As a result, there were many witnesses. After the crash, the HBPD tweeted an update: “We can confirm that our police helicopter, HB1, crash-landed in the Newport Beach area. Rescue efforts are underway.”

Later, the HBPD followed that up with a tweet about Vella’s death. They gave an update on his fellow officer as well. “Officer Vella died this evening after our police helicopter, HB-1, crashed into the waters off Newport while responding to a call for service,” the HBPD said. On the plus side, they also said that his partner was stable.

“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.”