NATIONAL NEWS

Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter crashes near Mexican border with minor injury reported

Jan 12, 2024, 4:56 AM | Updated: 8:00 am

SPOFFORD, Texas (AP) — A Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter patrolling the state’s border with Mexico crashed Thursday night, according to a statement by a DPS spokesperson.

The single-engine helicopter with a pilot and co-pilot on board crashed about 7:20 p.m. near Spofford in Kinney County after “a total loss of power,” according to the statement on X, formerly Twitter, by DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez.

The co-pilot suffered a minor hand injury and the helicopter was heavily damaged, Olivarez said.

He did not provide information about the pilot and did not immediately return phone calls seeking additional information early Friday.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration said Friday they are investigating the crash with the NTSB as the lead agency.

NTSB spokesperson Sarah Taylor Sulick said a preliminary report is expected in two to three weeks.

Olivarez said the helicopter was conducting a border patrol flight as part of Operation Lone Star, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s nearly $10 billion border mission that has tested the federal government’s authority over immigration.

The mission includes arresting those who enter the state illegally on trespassing charges, busing migrants to Democratic-led cities, installing razor wire on the border and installing buoy barriers on the Rio Grande.

Abbott recently sent a flight of 120 migrants to Chicago in an escalation of his busing operation.

The crash occurred in a rural area of Kinney County, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northeast of the Texas-Mexico border, and about 120 miles (193 kilometers) southwest of San Antonio.

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