A Broward County Sheriff’s Fire Rescue helicopter crashed into an apartment building on Monday, killing two and injuring four others, the Daily Wire reported. The aircraft experienced mechanical issues and caught fire before breaking apart and plunging to the ground.
Capt. Terryson Jackson and an unidentified woman on the ground were killed in the crash. Jackson, 50, was one of the three people in the helicopter who were en route to a rescue operation.
Jackson boarded the helicopter along with 37-year-old Daron Roche, who was the pilot, and 31-year-old firefighter and paramedic Mikael “Mike” Chaguaceda moments after receiving a rescue request call. Two minutes after taking off from Pompano Beach Airpark, the craft had mechanical trouble and caught fire.
Video posted to social media showed the chopper emitting black smoke before the tail snapped off and fell to the ground in pieces. Jackson and the unidentified woman died at the scene while the other two men on board were taken to a Broward Health North Hospital to be treated for their injuries.
Two others on the ground were taken to the same hospital for minor injuries. The unnamed victims, who were brothers, were inside the apartment at the time of the crash, the family said.
"I’m trying to find out what’s happening with my brothers," their sister said. "They’re at the hospital, and I just got a phone call from my son, and I don’t know what’s going on," she added.
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony fondly remembered the deceased captain and flight paramedic in his remarks to the press. "Terryson was a rock star," Tony said. "He was one of the best of us, one of the brightest," he added.
"He bled this profession inside and out all day long," Tony said. "There’s almost 6,000 people in this agency. I’m not going to meet everybody, and I haven’t, but that man I knew. I knew very well," Tony added.
"And the type of effort and commitment he had for this community – impeccable." All three men on board were veteran members of the rescue squad.
"This tragedy is really going to challenge us as a community, as every single tragedy has done since this agency has been around. I will tell you we are hurting," Tony continued.
"We are an organization that has gotten past all these different divisions over the years, and we have become a family. We are going to suffer, we are going to hurt, but this community should know we’re prepared to answer the next call," Tony said.
"We are not going to lose our focus even though we are hurting and dealing with our own tragedy," he promised. Eyewitness Ruben Chavez, who was in the area for work, described the horrific scene.
"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," Chavez said.
Jackson was a selfless public servant who died while attempting to help others, and the woman who lost her life was an innocent victim. The families of both deceased individuals must grieve the losses of this terrible tragedy.