Investigators on Sunday were still trying to determine the cause of a Huntington Beach police helicopter crash in Newport Harbor that killed one officer and injured another.
The officer who died in Saturday night’s crash was identified as 44-year-old veteran Officer Nicholas Vella, according to the Huntington Beach Police Department. A second officer, who has not yet been identified, was released from the hospital Sunday morning. Investigators have ascertained which officer was the pilot, but have not yet publicly released that information, according to Jennifer Carey, the department’s spokeswoman.
The National Transportation Safety Board is the lead agency investigating the accident, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Major Accident Reconstruction Team will be conducting its own investigation, Carey said.
Huntington Beach Police Chief Eric Parra said late Saturday night that the helicopter “crashed for reasons that we’re not certain of.”
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