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Huntington Beach Grounds Police Helicopters After Saturday Crash That Killed One Officer And Injured Another

Dozens of bouquets and memorial wreaths in all colors surround a photo of a police officer standing in front of an American flag.
The Huntington Beach Police Department posted a memorial on its Twitter account to Officer Nicolas Vella, who was killed on Feb. 19 when his police helicopter crashed into Newport Bay.
(Huntington Beach Police Department)
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Investigators are looking into the cause of a police helicopter crash near Newport Beach that killed a Huntington Beach officer and left another injured on Saturday night.

Officers responded to a call of a fight in progress around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday when their helicopter plunged into Newport Bay. Officer Nicholas Vella, a 14-year veteran, died from injuries. On Sunday, the surviving 16-year veteran officer was not identified and released from the hospital.

Huntington Beach police spokesperson Jennifer Carey said the department's two other helicopters will be examined for mechanical or safety issues.

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"We have no reason to believe that there is any sort of issues with our other two helicopters, but just in an abundance of caution, we are choosing to ground the helicopters."

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

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