Two Killed in Arizona Sheriff’s Helicopter Crash

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A law enforcement helicopter crashed in southeastern Arizona Wednesday, killing the pilot and a mechanic, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office said. The helicopter was returning from Phoenix after routine maintenance when it crashed. The two on board were pronounced dead at the scene. The helicopter, leased by the sheriff’s office, is assigned a civilian crew of two, the office said. Authorities were notified by the leasing company shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday that communications with the helicopter were lost near the Benson area, Sheriff Mark Dannels said in a statement. Tracking software was activated and county search and rescue crews traced the pilot’s cellphone, which led them to the site.

The NTSB was called to investigate. Dannels said a press conference will be held later Thursday. “This news leaves me personally, and this organization, with a heavy heart because of the tragic loss of two incredible lives,” he said in his statement. “We have worked closely with this company and these two individuals since receiving Cochise Air and knowing that they are considered part of the Sheriff’s Office family makes this so much harder.”

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