TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Cochise County Sheriff's Department just released the first photo of the site where a department helicopter crashed on New Year's Eve.
The department also said the helicopter was on its way back to Sierra Vista from Glendale when the crash happened. The helicopter was in Glendale for routine maintenance that is done every 300 hours of flight time. At this point, they have no explanation for why the chopper went down.
We also learned a retired Glendale Police officer was one of two people who died in the crash outside of Benson.
Officer Jeff Steele, the pilot, served with GPD for 25 years before retiring in June 2011, according to a statement from the department. Police Chief Debora Black said Steele kept in touch with members of the department. Her statement reads in part:
"He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and condolences are with not only Jeff's family, but also with those of the mechanic on board."
The mechanic was 51-year old Marc Hansen. He was also a trained pilot.