The fire attorneys at CaseyGerry are saddened to report that three people died in an aircraft collision when two Cal Fire aircrafts crashed mid air.

The incident occurred on the evening of Sunday, August 6, 2023 when a Bell 407 helicopter and a Sikorsky S-64E helicopter collided. The Cal Fire helicopters were two of six firefighting aircrafts responding to the Broadway Fire, a structure fire that had rapidly spread to vegetation around the area of Cabazon in Riverside County.

The Sikorsky, a much larger aircraft that carries fire retardant and water managed to land safely. Unfortunately, the smaller Bell 407, crashed into a nearby hillside, killing all three passengers aboard.

Fire Captain and Cal Fire Public Information Officer, Richard Cordova, reported that the sky was clear and conditions were favorable for flying. In a statement on how the six firefighting aircrafts operated, he said, “They kind of work together.” The Bell 407 acted in an ‘Observer-Coordinator’ capacity, providing support to the firefighting crafts, including the Sikorsky as they ‘attacked’ the fire.

In a statement to the Desert Sun, Cordova said, “The Bell crew’s mission was to tell helicopters where to make drops.” The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating the cause of the crash.

The pilots of both aircrafts were working under contract for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Although Cal Fire has a fleet of 60 aircrafts, it contracts with several commercial companies for additional aircrafts needed for firefighting efforts.

The CaseyGerry fire, and aviation attorneys hope that the NTSB can provide their report promptly, as their guidelines may help prevent tragic incidents like these from happening again.

We extend our deepest condolences to the victims of the crash. Our attorneys have witnessed the devastation an incident like this has on loved ones. This is because we have represented the numerous families of those who were killed in aviation accidents, including while performing government work. (LINK –

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