PORT ALLEN, La. — Two Baton Rouge police officers died on Sunday when their helicopter crashed into a sugarcane field in West Baton Rouge Parish, authorities said.
WBRZ-TV reports that the Robinson R-44 helicopter went out at 2 a.m. to help with a police pursuit and never returned. The aircraft's disappearance wasn't noticed for several hours before a search was launched. The wreckage was found before 11 a.m.
The National Transportation Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating the crash. On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration said that its preliminary investigation found that the helicopter's tail rotor struck a tree, causing the aircraft to crash inverted in a field.
The names of the officers have not been released.
“We are asking the community to lift our officers up in prayer, to lift the two family members of the two heroes we lost today, to lift those families up in prayer," Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said during a news conference on Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.