NUEVO (CNS) – Friends and family Sunday were mourning two Murrieta residents killed in a helicopter crash in Nuevo.
The turbine helicopter crashed at about 12:40 p.m. Friday near Chastity and Pulsar View roads, roughly 10 miles north of Hemet-Ryan Airport, according to the Riverside County fire and sheriff’s departments.
The victims were identified as 61-year-old Mark Carter and 62-year-old Dennis Foster. They were the only two people aboard the plane.
“Dennis was a really big hero of mine actually, just growing up, I always looked up to him,” Foster’s friend Kevin Heidorn told ABC7.
According to Heidorn, Foster was an avid mountain biker and when he wasn’t flying he spent much of his time cycling.
“The whole community is just in real disbelief,” Heidorn added.
Carter was a volunteer pilot for the nonprofit organization Angel Flight West, according to the station. Although the crash was not related to Angel Flight, the organization said he had flown nearly 70 donated flights since 2020 to help patients in need of non-emergency medical treatment.
Carter and Foster had made frequent trips to the San Bernardino Mountains, bringing urgently needed medical supplies to snowbound residents in recent weeks, according to ABC7.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Donnell Evans told City News Service on Saturday that the chopper was a seven-seat Bell 407, which is used in short-haul transportation, utility operations and law enforcement.
“The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate,” he said. “The NTSB will lead the investigation.”
There was no immediate word on the type of operation for which the ill- fated helicopter was being used, from where it departed or where it was going at the time of the crash.
Fire officials said a sheriff’s STAR-9 helicopter crew, based at Hemet- Ryan, was the first to reach the location and requested fire department assistance. Firefighters and patrol deputies hiked to the location, at which point the two fatalities were confirmed.
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