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Calif. helicopter crash under investigation; two sheriff's deputies killed


July 14, 2005
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Calif. helicopter crash under investigation; two sheriff's deputies killed

Biographical Info

Age: 36

Additional info: Deputy Kievernagel was a 17-year veteran with the Sacramento Sheriff's Office.

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Deputy Kievernagel died in a helicopter crash.

Date of Incident: July 13, 2005


Biographical Info

Age: 29

Additional info: Deputy Blount was a 7-year veteran with the Sacramento Sheriff's Office.

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Deputy Blount died in a helicopter crash.

Date of Incident: July 13, 2005


Associated Press

FAIR OAKS, Calif. — Federal aviation officials are investigating a helicopter crash that killed two Sacramento County sheriff's deputies and seriously injured a third.

The sheriff's department helicopter crashed just after 7 p.m. Wednesday near Nimbus Dam and caused a large brush fire along the American River east of Sacramento.

Deputy Joseph Kievernagel, 36, a 17-year veteran, and Deputy Kevin Blount, 29, a seven-year veteran, died at the scene, according to sheriff's spokesman R.L. Davis.

Deputy Eric Henrikson, 28, a seven-year veteran, was hospitalized “with quite a lot of body trauma and bleeding internally,” Davis said. His condition was upgraded Thursday to serious but stable condition, officials said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will be “coordinating the investigation to determine what failed on the airship,” Davis said.

Officials received a “mayday” call at 7:10 p.m., as the helicopter was having mechanical difficulties and the crew was attempting an emergency landing. The helicopter landed and the tail end broke off, sending it down a hillside, Davis said.

NTSB investigators were seeking witnesses to the crash Thursday. One witness took a photograph of the helicopter in flight, which officials said would be valuable to their investigation.

The NTSB expects to spend two days conducting the investigation and planned to have a preliminary report released within the week.

A witness told The Sacramento Bee that he looked up and saw the helicopter in flames.

“It looked like the pilot was trying to control it,” said, Daniel Todd, 28, of Fair Oaks. “It looked like it might go into the lake. It sounded like a car crash.”

The helicopters are used frequently by the sheriff's department in the summer to monitor boats, swimmers and rafters in the river.

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