LAKE MARY, Fla. - Search efforts continued early Wednesday morning after a Black Hawk helicopter crashed near the Leesburg International Airport.
Investigators said four people were traveling in the helicopter, all of whom had been confirmed deceased by Leesburg Fire Rescue as of late Wednesday afternoon. Their identities were not immediately released.
"The Medical Examiner will perform applicable victim identifications and notifications, which may take some time to complete," said Joe Iozzi, Captain with the Leesburg Police Department.
The Sikorsky UH-60 firefighting helicopter crashed into a marsh near the airport., during a training exercise, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The crash happened around 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, officials confirmed that the involved aircraft belonged to Brainerd Helicopters Inc./Firehawk Helicopters, located within Leesburg International Airport.
"At some point, some kind of mechanical failure evidently occurred and the helicopter went into a tailspin," explained Iozzi. "The tail separated from the main body of the aircraft, the tail went onto the airport runway area and the main body of the aircraft went back into that swampy, wooded area and fire crews are currently conducting a rescue operation."
A spokesperson with the FAA said the agency will release the aircraft tail number once investigators verify it at the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be in charge of the investigation and forthcoming updates.
Leesburg Fire Rescue responded to a helicopter crash near Leesburg Airport, May 25, 2021.
A small fire at the scene is under control and firefighters are receiving assistance from the U.S. Forest Service.
This is a developing story.
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