DRY CREEK, Ore. – The pilot of a downed helicopter is uninjured, but the aircraft remains in the middle of the forest. The helicopter had been helping the Oregon Department of Forestry on two fires before experiencing problems Sunday afternoon. The crash site is on private land outside of Shady Cove.
At the crash site in Dry Creek, the flight path is clear as trees were uprooted as the helicopter went down just over the brush. Blue and white ribbons lead the way on a path cleared by bulldozer Sunday night as emergency crews made their way to the site of a downed helicopter.
“Fortunately the pilot of the crashed aircraft was not hurt,” said ODF Spokesman Brian Ballou.
Officials with the Oregon Department of Forestry said the aircraft, which is now barely visible through the thick brush, was 1 of 2 helping fight a pair of forest fires near Shady Cove. It was when the helicopter was cleared from the fire the pilot noticed something was wrong.
“He radioed to our office here that he was having engine failure and he had to immediately set down, and that’s the last we heard from him,” Ballou said.
A search for the downed helicopter was quickly under way.
“The other helicopter went to go find him, quickly did, radioed us again with the township and range and latitude and longitude of where the downed helicopter was located,” said Ballou.
The incident is still under investigation and officials with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office say the it’s in the hands of the Federal Aviation Administration.
“Currently the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is securing the crash site until the FAA makes a decision if they will be coming down here to further investigate things or if they’ll just use our findings for their investigation,” said the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office PIO, Andrea Carlson.
The crash occurred on private land and officials say the next steps are still being determined. Caution tape is now blocking the bulldozed trail crews used to get to the scene as the investigation continues.