A Robinson R44 news helicopter operated by Helisae for Brazil's Globo network crashed Tuesday at about 6:04 a.m. local time in the ocean off Recife in heavy rain. After takeoff from Recife International Airport at 5:50 a.m., the newscopter filmed the oceanfront live for the "Good Morning Pernambuco" show, turned, lost altitude, and crashed. Local news said witnesses reported unusual engine sounds and a possible bird strike.
Pilot Daniel Cavalcanti Figueira Galvão, 36, a dual U.S./Brazilian citizen who earned his FAA certificate in Nevada in 2010, died at the scene, as did Lia Maria Abreu de Souza, 34, an air traffic controller and Air Force sergeant who was aboard at Helisae's invitation. Residents of a neighborhood bordering the beach jumped in to pull the victims from the wreckage about a hundred feet from shore. Cameraman Miguel Brendo Pontes Simões, 21, remained in critical condition after surgery.
Helisae partner and pilot Wagner Monteiro said he flew the helicopter Monday and that it underwent an annual inspection on January 16.