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Helicopter crash kills 1, injures 2 during mule deer research


February 1, 2018

GARFIELD COUNTY – One crew member was killed and two were injured when a private helicopter flying under contract with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) crashed in Garfield County while performing a mule deer study on Sat., Jan. 27.

The pilot, Blake Malo, 33, Clarkston and crew member Garrett Bradshaw, 30, Eagle Point, Ore., were injured and taken to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston. Crew member Benjamin M. Poirier, 19, Berthous, Colo. did not survive the crash.

All three men were employed by Hells Canyon Helicopters, which operated the craft.

“This is a tragic accident that will be deeply felt not only by the families but by members of our own staff who have worked with this dedicated crew,” said WDFW Director Jim Unsworth in a press release.

The crash occurred about 20 miles northwest of Pomeroy where the crew was working with ground-based biologists to attach radio collars to mule deer to study the animals’ movement and survival, according to regional WDFW wildlife manager Kevin Robinette.

Saturday was the first day of fieldwork in the Blue Mountains. Law enforcement officials were alerted on Saturday afternoon by a WDFW biologist when a smartphone app tracking the flight showed that the aircraft stopped moving.

The crash is still under investigation.


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