Anchorage man one of two dead in Idaho helicopter crash
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The U.S. Forest Service says two pilots have died of their injuries after their firefighting helicopter crashed in Idaho.
Killed were 41-year-old Thomas Hayes of Post Falls, Idaho, and 36-year-old Jared Bird of Anchorage, Alaska. Mary Cernicek with the Salmon-Challis National Forest says the CH-47D Series “Chinook” helicopter crashed Thursday in the Salmon River near the small town of Salmon.
The pilots were employees of the Anchorage-based ROTAK, which owned the aircraft and was contracted to help fight the Moose Fire burning about 21 miles north of Salmon. Cernicek said both pilots were military veterans.
In a statement released from ROTAK, both pilots were described by General Manager Ely Woods as outstanding pilots.
“Tommy and Jared represented the absolute best our country has to offer,” Woods said. “Both were decorated veterans, hard workers, and outstanding pilots. Our hearts go out to their families, friends and loved ones. We are devastated by this incredible loss.”
The release also said ROTAK has voluntarily suspended operations with its company helicopters until further notice.
Alaska’s News Source contributed to this report.
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