Helicopter Lifts Car Out of Hellgate Canyon

On June 29, 2018 at 8 a.m. a Croman helicopter extracted a car from Hellgate Canyon in Merlin. The car crashed over the cliff two weeks ago, injuring a man and killing a woman from Grants Pass.

Posted: Jun. 29, 2018 4:26 PM
Updated: Jun. 29, 2018 5:53 PM

MERLIN, Ore. — On June 29, 2018 at 8 a.m. a Croman helicopter extracted a car from Hellgate Canyon in Merlin. The car crashed over the cliff two weeks ago, injuring a man and killing a woman from Grants Pass. 

"I think it was airborne for a little bit, and then cartwheeled it's way into the rivers edge and got wedged between some rocks," says Vince Randall with the Bureau of Land Management. 

During that time, the totaled car became a safety hazard. 

"We had kids climbing onto the car cause it was just above the water," says Randall. 

Crews couldn't touch the car until Oregon State Police were done with their investigation. Randall says it was essential to get the car out of the canyon this morning with Fourth of July festivities only days away. 

"It's very popular here, I think thousands of people travel up and down in the course of a weekend," says Randall. 

Randall says a tow truck would have trouble hoisting the car up and over the 300 foot cliff, so they had to get creative. 

"It took us a little while to figure out how we were going to do this," says Randall. 

Eventually they settled on a logging helicopter. It can lift up to 10,000 pounds and is comfortable navigating the terrain. 

Galice Road and the Rogue River were closed for about an hour during the extraction.

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