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3 dead, 1 injured in helicopter crash near La Grulla, investigation underway

3 dead, 1 injured in helicopter crash near La Grulla, investigation underway
4 months 1 week 4 days ago Friday, March 08 2024 Mar 8, 2024 March 08, 2024 4:54 PM March 08, 2024 in News - Local

Two National Guard soldiers and a Border Patrol agent died in a Friday afternoon helicopter crash in Starr County, according to a news release from National Guard Bureau Chief, Gen. Daniel Hokanson.

The crash happened near La Grulla at around 2:50 p.m.

A fourth individual, identified as a National Guard soldier, was also injured in the crash.

The Department of Defense Joint Task Force North said the helicopter carrying the people was an Army National Guard helicopter operated by the National Guard involved in "monitoring and detection" along the border in assistance of Border Patrol. 

The names of the deceased will not be released until the next of kin have been notified, the release added. 

Deputies with the Starr County Sheriff’s Office responded to the crash, according to a news release from the agency.

Starr County judge Eloy Vera previously told Channel 5 News the injured soldier was hospitalized in critical condition. 

Wesley Vanderpool, who manages the property the helicopter crashed into, said he saw the crash unfold.

"All of a sudden this helicopter was over the edge of our field, and it started swirling," Vanderpool said. "I estimate it was maybe 150 feet up in the air, and it started swirling real fast. All of a sudden, the descent was immediate."

Channel 5 News was referred to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for comment regarding the crash.

When reached for comment on Friday afternoon, CBP said they'll release more information in a news release.

As of Saturday morning, CBP has yet to release more information.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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