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City mourns Huntington Beach police officer who died in helicopter crash

▶ Watch Video: Huntington Beach police officer killed in helicopter crash

A 14-year veteran of the Huntington Beach Police Department was mourned Sunday after he was killed in a helicopter crash on Saturday night. Another officer was injured. 

Dive teams have been in the water all day searching for clues about what caused the helicopter to crash. Home security video captured the police helicopter spinning out of control, hitting the water and almost instantly sinking in Newport Beach. 

A frantic rescue began in minutes, with locals, firefighters and lifeguards trying to save the two officers who were trapped underwater.

One officer made it out — but officer Nicholas Vella did not. The other officer, who is 50-years old, has been released from the hospital. 

A photo of Officer Nicholas Vella shared by the Huntington Beach Police Department.

Huntington Beach Police Department

In honor of Vella, first responders led a procession with his casket draped in an American flag. 

Hours earlier, a helicopter owned by a private aviation service plunged into the water in Miami Beach, coming dangerously close to the crowds on shore. Two of the three people abroad were injured and hospitalized.  



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