Home News One firefighter dead in helicopter accident whilst fighting fire in Valongo

One firefighter dead in helicopter accident whilst fighting fire in Valongo

Published on 05/09/2019

A firefighting helicopter crashed Thursday afternoon in Sobrado, Valongo, causing the pilot, the sole occupant of the aircraft, to be killed.

The victim is Noel Ferreira, the Fire-Commander of the Cete Firefighters, and an Air Force pilot.

A witness revealed that he saw the helicopter colliding with a high-voltage electricity pole and then rapidly falling to the ground. When the helicopter crashed, it exploded and caused a small fire to spread.

“It hit a high-voltage cable. We saw a spark when the propeller hit it. It span around twice and fell,” another witness, Manuel Esteves, told local news. According to him, the helicopter had just dropped off five crew members on the ground.

Another helicopter was on site with a team from the GNR Protection and Relief Intervention Group, and it was the pilot of that aircraft who first warned authorities of the accident.

According to Bruno Fonseca, Valongo Fire-Commander, the accident occurred when the helicopter was being used in an operation to combat a small fire, which was developing with intensity. “He landed some members of the brigade on the ground and they began firefighting operations. They were an operational crew who were prepared to follow orders from the air.” he told reporters.

The helicopter was completely engulfed in flames, but it was not possible to tell if the larger fire was caused by the accident or the fire that was previously developing. Bruno Fonseca, who recruited in the Air Force pilot Noel Ferreira, expressed great sorrow at his death, calling him “very experienced and humble.”

The helicopter belonged to HeliBravo and was in the service of Afocelca, a forestry association, which has expressed “the deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends.” The circumstances of the accident are still being investigated.