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NTSB Says Huntington Beach Officers Reported Mechanical Failures On Chopper

NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) - One day after a Huntington Beach Police Department helicopter crashed into the waters of Newport Beach on Saturday night, investigators were at the crash site Sunday trying to put the pieces together for what caused the aircraft to go down.

The fallen police chopper was pulled out of the water on Sunday, but investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are just beginning their full investigation.

Two officers were inside of the chopper when it went nose first into the water with dozens of people nearby.

Both of the officers were pulled out of the chopper by locals nearby but unfortunately, one of them died from injuries suffered in the crash.

Officer Nicholas Vella, a 14-year veteran of the Huntington Beach Police Department, was working as the tactical flight officer Saturday night, CBSLA Reporter Rick Montanez has learned.

In other words, Vella was serving as the spotter for the pilot.

The chief NTSB investigator of the accident told Montanez that both of the officers aboard HB-1 reported having mechanical failures just before it went down.

What exactly the mechanical error was is what investigators are trying to pinpoint while they continue to retrieve some parts of the chopper from the water.

"The plan is to recover the helicopter locally for the next day and then move it to a long-term storage facility in Phoenix where we can examine it later in the week," Elliot Simpson of the NTSB said.

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