In recent weeks before the crash, the two men had made frequent trips to the San Bernardino Mountains.
NUEVO, Calif. (KABC) -- The two men who were killed in a helicopter crash in Nuevo were identified Saturday, and friends said they both had hearts of gold.
The turbine helicopter crashed at about 12:40 p.m. Friday near Chastity and Pulsar View roads, roughly 10 miles north of Hemet-Ryan Airport, according to the Riverside County fire and sheriff's departments.
The victims were identified as 61-year-old Mark Carter and 62-year-old Dennis Foster. They were the only two people aboard the plane.
"Dennis was a really big hero of mine actually, just growing up, I always looked up to him," said friend Kevin Heidorn.
He said Foster was an avid mountain biker and when he wasn't flying, he spent much of his time cycling.
"The whole community is just in real disbelief," said Heidorn. "I've reached out to some friends of mine who were really close with Dennis and everyone's having a pretty tough time with it."
Carter was a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight West. Friday's fatal crash was not related to Angel Flight, but the organization said he had flown nearly 70 donated flights since 2020 to help patients in need of non -emergency medical treatment.
In recent weeks, Carter and Foster had made frequent trips to the San Bernardino Mountains, bringing urgently needed medical supplies to snowbound residents.
"He was such a generous person and to think that he's now lost his life doing what he does best and really helping others, it's hard, but I like to think that he lived his life really to the fullest," said Heidorn.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Donnell Evans told City News Service that the chopper was a seven-seat Bell 407, which is used in short- haul transportation, utility operations and law enforcement.
"The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate," he said. "The NTSB will lead the investigation."
There was no immediate word on the type of operation for which the ill- fated helicopter was being used, from where it departed or where it was going at the time of the crash.
Fire officials said a sheriff's STAR-9 helicopter crew, based at Hemet-Ryan, was the first to reach the location and requested fire department assistance.
Firefighters and patrol deputies hiked to the location, at which point the two fatalities were confirmed.
City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.