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Two killed, 4 hurt when Broward Sheriff's Office helicopter crashes into Pompano Beach apartment building

Witnesses left shaken by BSO chopper crash
Witnesses left shaken by BSO chopper crash 02:24

FORT LAUDERDALE - Two people were killed and at least four others were hurt when a Broward County Sheriff's Office helicopter crashed Monday morning into a Pompano Beach apartment building, sending a plume of thick black smoke and flames into the air.

We learn more about the victims of BSO chopper crash 02:39

The incident occurred at 8:45 a.m. at a building located at West Dixie Highway and NE 10th Street, about 10 blocks north of West Atlantic Boulevard.

There were three people aboard the Eurocopter EC135 helicopter, according to initial FAA reports. 

Cary Allen, a neighbor and a witness, told CBS News MIami's Peter D'Oench that she knew the helicopter was in trouble the second she looked up at the sky.

"I saw just a bunch of black smoke coming from the helicopter and I knew it was out of control. It started to circle and was out of control and plummeted down towards the apartment," she said. "I just heard 3 loud explosions, just boom, boom, boom. It was very very loud and I said to myself, something bad happened. I feel just terrible, just terrible."

2 killed, 4 hurt when Broward Sheriff's Office helicopter crashes into Pompano Beach apartment build 02:03

One of the fatalities was a helicopter crew member and the other was a woman in her home when the chopper crashed, according to Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony. 

"He was one of my firefighters. We lost one of our captains today who was onboard serving his community, hoping that he would get a chance to do what he does best which is to land and extract somebody else. Unfortunately, in the crash he was trapped, could not get out, and we lost him," said Tony. 

He identified the firefighter who died as Capt. Terryson Jackson

Fatal BSO chopper crash under investigation 02:03

The four people who were injured, two from inside the helicopter and two on the ground, were taken to North Broward Medical Center.   

The injured Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue employees were the chopper's pilot Daron Roche, 37, who has been with BSO for four years and firefighter paramedic Mikael "Mike" Chaguaceda, 31, who has been with BSO for five years.   

Veda Coleman-Wright, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office, said during a news conference at the scene that the helicopter was en route to a scene in North Lauderdale when the aircraft encountered some type of difficulty before it crashed.

The helicopter was on its way to pick up a woman who had been involved in a crash when it developed engine trouble, according to Tony.

Broward Sheriff's Office provides update on the crash 02:05

He said a fire broke out onboard and then other mechanical issues occurred.

Video posted online from people in the neighborhood showed smoke coming from the helicopter moments before the crash.

An unidentified individual who lives in the eight-unit apartment building told CBS News Miami that she heard a loud crash and shortly afterward was ordered to evacuate the building.

A man who works near the crash site said he heard it and rushed to help.

"The top of the roof was all fire. A big ball of fire, that's all. And then, a second explosion. I ran over there but the police, the first two cops who got there pushed us back and that's when the second explosion happened. We felt the heat and that's when we said we gotta go," said Ruben Chavez.

Two BSO helicopter crew members survived Pompano Beach crash 01:54

Jared Liverpool captured video of two of the crew members crawling out of the crash site and onto a roof. Someone propped a ladder on the side of the building and the shaken officers were able to get down.

"My heart was just racing, there was a lot going on at the moment. I just felt many emotions. I was scared, nervous," he said. 

"Surprisingly, the two men in their uniforms didn't look like they had any injuries on them at all. One of them said that their ribs were broken probably, but they seemed fine. They struggled a bit climbing up the roof but they got down, a police officer was asking them if they were okay, if they needed any help. They were taken to the hospital in fair condition."

WATCH: Flames, smoke following after BSO helicopter crash in apartment building 02:40

Liverpool said, "I was thankful it didn't hit my house. I live by the Pompano Beach Air Park and I am used to planes flying very low. I have never seen anything like this before." 

Liverpool's neighbor, Julie Smith, heard the crash. "It sounded like a real loud bad explosion," she said. "It was like devastating and it was scary."

Sheriff's officials said motorists should avoid the area because Dixie Highway would likely remain closed throughout the day. 

Brightline trains were running, however.

Officials said separate investigations are underway.

"Investigators from the NTSB are en route," Coleman-Wright said. "The FAA is already on scene."

"There are parallel investigations," she said.

According to air traffic control at the airport, the pilot reported engine failure in the moments before the crash.

A pilot who has flown the aircraft said it had two engines so it was not clear if both engines failed or just one.

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