Investigation Underway after Rescue Helicopter Crash in Florida

The aircraft’s tailboom was ablaze as it spun out of control before crashing through the roof of an occupied apartment building.

The accident involved a Eurocopter EC135, similar to the one here. [Credit: Shutterstock]

Authorities in Broward County, Florida, are investigating what caused a fire aboard a Broward Sheriff's Fire Rescue helicopter that sent it spinning out of control, resulting in the Eurocopter’s impact into an occupied apartment building.

The pilot of the helicopter, BSFR Captain Terryson Jackson, 50, died in the accident, as did a woman in the apartment. As of Tuesday afternoon, her name had not yet been released.

What Happened

According to the Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony, at 8:41 a.m. EDT Monday the flight crew of the EC135 Eurocopter was dispatched to a medical call regarding a traffic accident with injuries in North Lauderdale. The helicopter had just lifted off from Pompano Beach Airpark (KPMP) when, according to videos and photos captured of the aircraft, it experienced an in-flight fire. The helicopter's tail boom was ablaze as the aircraft spun out of control and crashed through the roof of the apartment. The resulting fire heavily damaged the structure.

According to the Broward County Sheriff, two helicopter crew members, BSFR Pilot Daron Roche, 37, and BSFR Firefighter Paramedic Mikael “Mike” Chaguaceda, 31, managed to escape the wreckage.

Pompano Beach Fire Rescue transported them and two civilians to Broward Health North hospital. According to the hospital, none of the individuals transported have life-threatening injuries and all are listed in fair condition.

Out of an abundance of caution, Tony ordered the Broward County Sheriff's Office fleet grounded until the helicopters can be inspected.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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