Ross Allan and Mark Palmieri were killed after a helicopter crashed about two miles east of Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport. On Thursday a flag flew at half staff outside the Miami-Dade fire department's Tamiami Air Rescue station, where they are mourning the loss of Allan, a 17-year department veteran. NBC 6's Myriam Masihy spoke with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Special Operations Division Chief Ray Barreto and witness Ivan Verdi.
A flag flew at half staff Thursday outside of the Miami-Dade fire department's Tamiami Air Rescue station, where they are mourning the loss of helicopter co-pilot Ross Allan.
The 17-year veteran of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue died Wednesday afternoon in a helicopter crash in West Kendall.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Special Operations Division Chief Ray Barreto says in the fire service they're a family.
"Ross was part of our family and it's an extension of our family and we're going to miss him, " Barreto said.
Allan was off-duty working as a chopper mechanic when the Robinson R44 chopper he was in came crashing down on a warehouse parking lot at SW 124th Avenue and SW 130th Street.
The owner of the aircraft, pilot Mark Palmieri, also died in the fiery crash, Miami-Dade Police said. He survived a crash in the Everglades just over two years ago.
Mechanic Ivan Verdi said he was outside Wednesday and "heard a pop. " Verdi added that he looked up and "was able to see the helicopter just splitting, the tail just falling."
Video shot by business owner Miguel Hernandez showed Verdi rushing to the scene with a fire extinguisher after the chopper went down.
"There was another pilot strapped on the seat belt still, and the fire was consuming the helicopter, so we started putting the flames out trying to pull the body out," Verdi said.
But despite everyone's efforts, the two occupants of the chopper died. Allan is survived by his wife and four children.
Officials are working to determine what caused the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board carefully took the wreckage away Thursday for its investigation, which is expected to take weeks.