Wildfire Crash Update
While on it’s third run from Helispot 44, at an elevation 5,935 feet, to Helispot 36, at an elevation of 2,516 feet, ferrying firefighters from a remote mountain site in the Shasta-Trinity forest, the Sikorsky S-61N helicopter crashed killing 9.
Fortunately, the voice-data recorder was determined to be intact despite fire damage. The investigation so far has found that the chopper’s main rotor lost power during takeoff. After the rotor malfunction, witnesses say the helicopter struck trees and slammed into the hillside. Four of the thirteen passengers–three fire fighters and the co-pilot–survived. The co-pilot remains hospitalized.