West Baton Rouge, LA – Two Baton Rouge police officers were killed after a department helicopter crashed into a sugarcane field while responding to a pursuit early Sunday morning.
The incident began at approximately 2 a.m. on March 26, when two Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) officers flying in the department’s Robinson R-44 helicopter were dispatched to assist with a pursuit, WAFB reported.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the tail rotor for the helicopter hit a tree at 2:36 a.m. and sent it crashing upside-down into a sugarcane field, The Advocate reported.
“I just heard a loud boom at around 2:30 a.m., quarter to three this morning,” one neighbor told WAFB. “Sounded like an explosion.”
The chopper crashed several hours before investigators became aware it was missing, WAFB reported.
A search was launched and the site of the crash was pinpointed.
The wreckage was found in a sugarcane field near Port Allen on North Winterville Road off US 190.
A coroner responded to the scene at approximately 11 a.m., WAFB reported.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are handling the ongoing investigation.
The names of the deceased officers were not immediately released as next-of-kin notifications remained underway on Monday morning, WAFB reported.
“Today is a very emotional day for the men and women of the Baton Rouge Police Department,” Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said. “Right now, we’re asking the community to lift up our officers in prayer.”
“We’re asking the community to be respectful of the investigative process because it does take time so that we can release all the facts related to this incident to the family as well as the community,” Chief Paul added.
East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome offered her condolences to the department and the fallen officers’ families and said she is thankful for the first responders who have been working at the crash site, WAFB reported.
“On behalf of the City of Baton Rouge, I extend my deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of the BRPD officers who tragically lost their lives today in a helicopter crash,” Weston Broome said. “These officers served our community with distinction and bravery, and we will forever be grateful for their service and sacrifice.”
“We ask the community keep the families of the fallen officers in their thoughts and prayers, and we express our heartfelt gratitude to all of the first responder agencies who have been working tirelessly to support our city during this difficult time,” the mayor added.
HONORING THE FALLEN 💙🖤
Law enforcement officers escort the two fallen Baton Rouge Police pilots from the scene of the deadly helicopter crash in Erwinvillehttps://t.co/WTA7vm8ihQ pic.twitter.com/aqGMXDx1GS
— WAFB (@WAFB) March 26, 2023
On behalf of the City of Baton Rouge, I extend my deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of the BRPD officers who tragically lost their lives today in a helicopter crash.
— Sharon Weston Broome (@MayorBroome) March 26, 2023
Please join me in praying for the families of the Baton Rouge Police officers who tragically lost their lives in a helicopter crash Sunday. Their heroism, sacrifice and devotion to public service will never be forgotten. #lagov
— Gov. John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) March 27, 2023
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