Wyoming Copter Crash Kills Rescuer

by nph | February 17th, 2012

February 17, 2012

“He was my hero,” the Teton County Search and Rescue’s president said, choking back tears. On Wednesday, one of the group’s members died when the helicopter he was riding in crashed while responding to a call for help from snow mobilers in the snowy, remote back country of northwest Wyoming, according to The Denver Post.

The 63-year-old man had helped found a volunteer search and rescue group 19 years ago after he survived being buried in an avalanche. He even trained his own dogs for search and rescue missions

It was the first fatality in the history of Teton County Search and Rescue (TCSR), a mostly volunteer organization.

Officials said the helicopter crashed as it hovered in the area where the snow mobilers were located. It was searching for a landing zone at the time.

Sheriff’s officials speculate that a failed rear rotor might have caused the crash.

The 62-year-old pilot of Victor, Idaho, remained in St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson on Thursday but was expected to be released later in the day. The other rescuer, a 44-year-old man, was treated and released Wednesday night.

“We can’t do everything, and the fact the ship had a mechanical failure, who can see that coming?”  TCSR’s president said. “This is definitely a blow to the search and rescue organization…to our entire community. It’s tragic.”

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The aviation lawyersat Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy send their condolences to the family of the deceased.