Four people were killed and one is missing after a private helicopter crashed Monday afternoon near Botany Bay on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to local authorities.
Richard Motta, communications director for the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, confirmed that the identities of the four deceased had not yet been released pending notification of their next-of-kin.
“The Virgin Island Fire Service was the lead agency, they mounted what at the time was a rescue effort, which turned into a recovery effort,” Motta said.
“There was a fifth person listed on the flight manifest,” Motta said. “Search and rescue, or recovery, efforts have commenced this morning for the fifth passenger on the manifest.”
A swimmer told the Virgin Islands Daily News that they saw plumes of black smoke and smelled a chemical odor coming from the hill where the chopper crashed Monday afternoon.
The paper reported that a local private school canceled classes based on a report that a student and their family were aboard.
A spokesperson for the Antilles School declined to comment.
Motta said the government would release more information later Tuesday.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Please check back again for updates.
4 dead, 1 missing after Virgin Islands helicopter crash – NBC News