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Fla. firefighter-paramedic speaks about fatal helicopter crash

Broward County Firefighter-paramedic Mikael Chaguaceda and the pilot were able to climb out of the burning chopper and onto the roof of the apartment building



By Bill Carey

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. — One of the Broward County firefighter-paramedics who survived the fatal helicopter crash in Pompano Beach last month has said he intends to sue the maintenance company that had last worked on the helicopter.

Mikael Chaguaceda spoke for the first time about the incident when the helicopter crashed into an apartment building on Aug. 28, killing Capt. Terryson Jackson and Lurean Wheaton, a woman inside the apartment, NBC Miami reported.

“Once the initial boom happened, we actually fell down and then we regained altitude,” Chaguaceda said. “Smell of fire of course but it smelled electrical to me, sound also appeared to be like it was coming from the left side which is what we would call our Engine One.”

[RELATED: Video - Fatal Fla. fire-rescue helicopter crash footage released]

Chaguaceda and his attorneys called for an investigation into the company that replaced the helicopter’s air conditioning unit.

Before the crash, Chaguaceda said he started seeing smoke and fire coming from the cockpit as he and his crew were headed to a crash scene.

“Right before the tail rotor snapped off, my captain said, ‘Don’t worry Mikey, we are going to be good,” Chaguaceda told Local 10. “We landed nose-first into this dwelling, which is why my captain died on impact.”

Chaguaceda, along with the pilot, was able to climb out of the burning chopper and onto the roof of the apartment building.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by the FAA and the NTSB.

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