A California police officer believed to be of Maltese descent has died in a helicopter crash.

Nicholas Vella, a 14-year veteran of Huntington Beach Police Department died after a police helicopter he was piloting crashed in shallow water in Newport Bay on Sunday. The helicopter had been called to provide aerial support to the Newport Beach Police Department at the scene of a fight.

Officer Vella and his co-pilot were both pulled from the helicopter and taken to a local hospital where Vella succumbed to his injuries. 

Officer Vella leaves behind a wife and daughter, the police department said. "He served the community of Huntington Beach with honor and dignity." 

The Maltese Centre of New York was among those who expressed their condolences. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us