The helicopter crash-landed Saturday at about 6:30 p.m. while responding to a disturbance near Newport Beach, the Huntington Beach Police Department said.
Nicholas Vella, 44, a 14-year veteran with the police department, died in the crash, Police Chief Eric Parra said in a news conference Saturday night.
The second officer, who is a 16-year veteran with the department, was taken to the hospital in critical condition. The second officer was not named.
“The city of Huntington Beach, the residents of Huntington Beach, the Huntington Beach Police Department and the law enforcement community have lost an officer who was truly dedicated to his job and was doing what he loved doing,” Parra said. “This is a difficult night for all of us and I would ask for your prayers and support as we support our officers’ families.”
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Major Accident Reconstruction Team are investigating the crash.