WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

NTSB: Firefighting helicopter crashed in Leesburg during test flight for new bucket system


Play Audio

A fatal helicopter crash occurred May 25 near the Leesburg airport. Photo: Leesburg Fire Rescue via Facebook


A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman says the firefighting helicopter that crashed in Leesburg Tuesday with four people on board was on a test flight for a new bucket water release system.

The UH-60 Blackhawk belonged to Firehawk Helicopters, a private contractor that helps battle wildfires.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the helicopter lost control of the bucket, causing the rotor section to separate.

It crashed into a marshy wooded area and caught fire. A pilot and three passengers were believed to be on board but, as of Wednesday afternoon, only one body had been recovered.

Their names were not available.

The crash occurred around 4:30 p.m. near the Leesburg International Airport.

The NTSB will lead an investigation there for two to four days. Then a helicopter will move the wreckage to a secure location.

On Facebook, the Florida Forest Service posted condolences for the lost crew. 

The agency praised their service and, quote, “the (peace) of mind they gave our firefighters when they arrived on scene.”

 


Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida news, updates on special programs and more.

GET THE LATEST
Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes

Reporter

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.

TOP