2 pilots die after firefighting helicopter crashes in Idaho


Idaho Gov. Brad Little has ordered that flags be flown at half-group of workers in honor of the 2 pilots who died after their firefighting helicopter crashed in Idaho

BOISE, Idaho — Both pilots of a firefighting helicopter that crashed in Idaho have died, the U.S. Forest Service stated Friday.

Mary Cernicek with the Salmon-Challis National Forest stated Thomas Hayes, 41, of Post Falls, Idaho, and Jared Bird, 36, of Anchorage, Alaska, died from accidents they sustained whilst their CH-47D Series “Chinook” crashed withinside the Salmon River approximately 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

The pilots have been personnel of the Anchorage-primarily based totally ROTAK Helicopter Services, which became shrunk to assist combat the Moose Fire burning approximately 21 miles (34 kilometers) north of Salmon.

Both pilots have been “fairly experienced” and navy veterans, Cernicek stated. Emergency crews responding to the crash have been capable of extricate the guys and delivery them to scientific centers however they did now no longer survive, she stated.

On its website, ROTAK stated it showed the accident “with heavy hearts” and requested for prayers and privateness on behalf of the households involved.

“ROTAK Helicopter Services is running carefully with all suitable organizations and could problem a complete declaration as facts is released,” the corporation wrote.

The Idaho crash comes much less than per week after 4 first responders have been killed in any other helicopter crash in New Mexico. Authorities in New Mexico stated the helicopter team had wrapped up a firefighting venture and became heading domestic to Albuquerque whilst the helicopter got here down at a excessive price of speed, hitting the floor upright earlier than toppling over. One of the 4 human beings killed in that crash controlled to name 911 earlier than succumbing to his accidents.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little ordered that flags be flown at half-group of workers in honor of Hayes and Bird. Little stated the deaths have been a tragedy that might be deeply felt through the households and the wildland firefighting community.

“Our courageous firefighters face extraordinarily difficult situations head directly to defend lives, property, and the land,” Little stated in a press release. “Idahoans are praying for the cherished ones and co-workers of those firefighters as we grieve this awesome loss.”

Nearly seven-hundred firefighters had been combating the Moose Fire in Idaho. The hearthplace commenced on Sunday, and the National Interagency Fire Center stated in an incident file Friday that 9 helicopters have been getting used to aid floor firefighting sources with water bucket drops.

The hearthplace became burning on approximately 37 rectangular miles (ninety six rectangular kilometers) on Friday and dangerous numerous structures, and hearthplace managers stated the hearthplace became anticipated to boom as hot, dry situations persisted withinside the region. A “purple flag” caution became issued withinside the location due to the fact wind gusts have been anticipated to attain as much as 35 mph (fifty six kph).

The helicopter wreckage became nonetheless withinside the Salmon River and National Transportation Safety Board investigators have been en direction to the scene, Cernicek stated. That stretch of the river is famous with rafters and recreationists, and officers closed the location to leisure day trips. It stays open to human beings on multi-day river trips, Cernicek stated.