Bell Helicopter Crashes in Oregon

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
By George Hatcher

Around noon on Oct 28, a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter carrying two Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife employees who were conducting fish counts (counting spawning nests, also called redds) crashed in the South Umpqua River near Days Creek. Both passengers and the pilot were conscious.

Power lines were damaged, and the plane was leaking fuel. Three hundred twenty people lost electricity. The FAA and the NTSB will be on hand to check out the accident. A hazmat team handled the fuel leak.

Two passengers, Holly Huchko, 34 and Eric Himmelreich, 35 were taken to Mercy Hospital in Roseburg, and the pilot to Sacred Heart at Riverbend. Huchko broke her back, Himmelreich broke a vertebra and the pilot, Fred Wittlake, broke an arm and some ribs.

The Umpqua Fish District office counts fish to help determine fishing regulation.

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