Firefighting helicopter crashes during training exercise in Florida

A firefighting helicopter on a training flight crashed in Leesburg, Florida, with four people on board.

The crash happened about 4:00pm on Tuesday.

The Orlando Sentinel reported the Black Hawk helicopter crashed in heavily-wooded marshland close to Leesburg Airport, about 40 miles northwest of Orlando.

Fire crews said the crash appears to be a total loss and no survivors have been located.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.

Leesburg Fire Rescue posted a photo from the airport showing smoke billowing over the tree line.

US Forest Service was on scene clearing a path around the wreckage to prevent any fires to surrounding vegetation.

“At some point, some kind of mechanical failure evidently occurred and the helicopter went into a tailspin,” explained Joe Iozzi, Captain with the Leesburg Police Department.

“The tail separated from the main body of the aircraft, the tail went onto the airport runway area and the main body of the aircraft went back into that swampy, wooded area and fire crews are currently conducting a rescue operation.”

Black Hawk helicopters are widely used by the U.S. military and 28 other counties, according to Lockheed Martin, the aircraft manufacture.