UPDATE: All 4 crew members confirmed dead in Black Hawk helicopter crash in Leesburg

Federal investigators examining wreckage from fatal crash

LEESBURG, Fla. – All four crew members on board a Black Hawk helicopter that crashed in Leesburg Tuesday during a training exercise have died, according to city officials.

Federal investigators with the National Transportation Safety Bureau were back at the scene Wednesday of the deadly helicopter crash at Leesburg International Airport.

City officials said all four crew members were recovered from the crash site and are in the custody of the medical examiner’s office. Their names have not been released yet by the NTSB.

According to Leesburg police, which is assisting with the investigation, the Black Hawk helicopter that crashed during a training exercise Tuesday evening is registered to Brainerd Helicopters Inc./Firehawk Helicopters. Police said the company, which is based at the Leesburg airport and in Idaho, is contracted out by local governments, and the federal government, across the country.

News 6 reached out to the company for comment and was told a statement would be released sometime on Wednesday. This story will be updated when that statement is released.

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Police said the crash site is about 100 yards into a wooded area and is still on airport property.

Leesburg police said there were four people on board the helicopter when it crashed. A search and rescue operation took place immediately, confirming the death of at least one person on the helicopter, but officers said that hazards created by the crash prevented them from searching the rest of the wreckage and crash scene.

All four crew members were confirmed dead Wednesday.

The NTSB said investigators are now measuring the wreckage and the crash site. Investigators plan to move the wreckage to a secure location to examine it more closely.

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The NTSB said its teams will look at three main elements in their investigation; the operator and their training, the helicopter and its maintenance records and any environmental factors which may have played a role in the crash. Preliminary results will be ready in a few weeks but the full investigation could take up to two years to complete, according to the NTSB.

According to a Federal Aviation Authority website, the helicopter’s tail number was #N9FH. That website also shows that the aircraft was conducting fire water drop exercises and lost control of the bucket, causing the rotor section to separate. The FAA site also places the time of the crash as 6 p.m. Tuesday

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.