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One firefighter dead in helicopter accident whilst fighting fire in Valongo

firefighter crashA 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.

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+4 #2 Graham Horton 2019-09-06 19:28
I live I Volongo andI am so sorry that this brave guy lost his life while saving the lives of others. I feel so heartbroken for his family on this sad day

To all the people in the fire services thank you all for the brave job you do

Graham Horton
+2 #1 Daphne 2019-09-06 14:12
As always a sad loss of a good man - but still not clear why proximity beacons cannot be put on high tension lines and posts in forested areas. These would buzz louder as a firefighting aircraft approached through the smoke. Also it is well known that private landlords with their own fire teams looking after just their associations territory exist in Portugal and, knowing that they are only paid when putting out fires, some have suspicions that maybe these privateers also light them.
But what though, on this occasion, is the connection between the GNR, the Bombeiros and this forestry association?

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