4 dead after sheriff's helicopter crashes in New Mexico

4 dead after sheriff's helicopter crashes in New Mexico

Four people aboard a sheriff's department helicopter have died following a crash Saturday night near Las Vegas, New Mexico, according to the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department.

Three members of the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office and one member of the Bernalillo County Fire Department were in the helicopter known as Metro 2 at the time of the crash, officials said.

PHOTO: According to the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office, the aircraft known as Metro 2 was assisting fire crews battling the East Mesa Fire. The aircraft was on the way back to Albuquerque when the crash happened. (Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office)
PHOTO: According to the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office, the aircraft known as Metro 2 was assisting fire crews battling the East Mesa Fire. The aircraft was on the way back to Albuquerque when the crash happened. (Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office)

The victims were identified by the sheriff's office as Undersheriff Larry Korn, Lt. Fred Beers, deputy Michael Levison and rescue specialist Matthew King.

The first responders were on their way back to Albuquerque after assisting fire crews with the East Mesa Fire, according to the sheriff's department.

New Mexico State Police said they had arrived at the scene, which is about 120 miles northeast of Albuquerque. Both the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were expected to investigate the crash, the state police said.

"At this time the investigation into this incident is in its preliminary stages. As we learn further details, we will provide them through official press releases like this one," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "Please keep these individuals and their families in your thoughts and prayers tonight."

ABC News' Sam Sweeney contributed to this report.

4 dead after sheriff's helicopter crashes in New Mexico originally appeared on abcnews.go.com