Three first responders tragically lost their lives in a helicopter crash while battling a brush fire in Cabazon. The victims have been identified as Cal Fire Assistant Chief Josh Bischof, Fire Captain Tim Rodriguez, and contracted pilot Tony Sousa. Condolences and support have been expressed by local, state, and national leaders, as well as fellow first responders. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. KESQ reported
Following a helicopter crash in Cabazon that resulted in the deaths of three first responders who were battling a brush fire, local, state, and national leaders have expressed their condolences.
On Sunday evening, two helicopters crashed while fighting a fire in Cabazon, resulting in the deaths of three first responders. The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the crash.
The victims have been identified as Cal Fire Assistant Chief Josh Bischof, Fire Captain Tim Rodriguez, and contracted pilot Tony Sousa.
“I had the opportunity to work with Chief Bischof many times. He was approachable and always willing to mentor others. He always had a smile on his face. The same can be said for Captain Rodriguez, who was dedicated to the air program and showed great devotion,” said CAL FIRE Captain Richard Cordova.
Please keep these men, their families and our fire family in your hearts and prayers. https://t.co/InVYXB7tyj
— CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department (@CALFIRERRU) August 7, 2023
The tragic loss of these three courageous first responders has been deeply felt across the nation.
California Governor Gavin Newsom released a statement on Monday morning.
On behalf of all Californians, we extend our thoughts and heartfelt sympathies to the loved ones, friends, and colleagues mourning the loss of these @CAL_FIRE heroes. We deeply respect and appreciate their bravery and sacrifices. pic.twitter.com/s86eQYdvSe
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) August 7, 2023
First Lady Jill Biden also expressed her condolences on Twitter, responding to a message from Edward A. Kelly, the General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of the firefighters and pilot who lost their lives in a tragic helicopter accident while battling a wildfire in Southern California. https://t.co/NKVno76L2W
— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) August 7, 2023
Local Congressmembers Ken Calvert and Raul Ruiz also expressed their condolences.
Our firefighters selflessly put themselves in danger to keep us safe. I’m heartbroken by the loss of our @CALFIRERRU heroes who were killed in a tragic helicopter crash while fighting a wildfire here in Riverside County. My prayers are with their colleagues and families.
— Ken Calvert (@KenCalvert) August 7, 2023
My heart and prayers go out to the family, friends of @CAL_FIRE Assistant Chief Josh Bischof, Captain Tim Rodriguez, and pilot Tony Sousa who lost their lives while battling a fire in the Cabazon area last night. Their bravery and ultimate sacrifices will always be remembered.
— Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (@RepRaulRuizMD) August 7, 2023
County Supervisor Manuel Perez also expressed his condolences.
Local first responders and city leaders also shared messages of support for the families and colleagues of the fallen heroes.
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