Two BRPD officers die in chopper crash
WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Two Baton Rouge Police Department pilots were killed after a BRPD helicopter crashed in West Baton Rouge Parish early Sunday morning, March 26, the department confirmed.
The helicopter belongs to the Baton Rouge Police Department, officials added.
“Today is a very emotional day for the men and women of the Baton Rouge Police Department,” said Chief Murphy Paul. “Right now, we’re asking the community to lift up our officers in prayer.”
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the helicopter was a Robinson R-44 helicopter and went down around 3 a.m. The wreckage was located in a sugarcane field along North Winterville Road off US 190 near Port Allen.
“I just heard a loud boom at around 2:30 a.m., quarter to three this morning,” said one neighbor, who asked not to be identified. “Sounded like an explosion.”
The coroner’s office was called to the scene around 11 a.m.
Sources said the helicopter crew had been sent to assist with a pursuit around 2 a.m. Sunday but never returned.
It appears no one was aware that the chopper had gone down for many hours. A search was eventually launched and the wreckage was found hours later.
Airport officials said most flight missions are done at a low altitude. The airport confirmed that most of the time, flights will check in with the air traffic control tower at take-off and then return at a time when the tower is closed. As a result, the airport said the BRPD helicopter potentially had no check-ins with the air traffic control tower.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will launch an investigation. According to the FAA, the NTSB will be in charge of the investigation.
Baton Rouge police said the scene of the crash is secure.
Officials are withholding the names of the pilots until all of the appropriate family members have been notified.
“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,” added Chief Paul.
The Baton Rouge Police Department identified the victims as Cpl. Scotty Canezaro and Sgt. David Poirrier on Monday afternoon, March 27.
East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome released the following statement:
The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office released the following statement on Facebook:
This is a developing story. Check back for more details.
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